William Morris likely to be frontrunner for American sports agency IMG acquisition -NYT

December 14
1:26 AM 2013

As the auction for global sports powerhouse IMG Worldwide draws to a close, the Los Angeles-based talent agency William Morris Endeavor appears to lead the bidding raise as it is poised to submit the highest offer. According to a report by the New York Times, offers for IMG were due Friday from three bidders. A decision would come as early as Saturday, the report said. 

Sources told NY Times that William Morris Endeavor plans to offer more than $2 billion for the sports agency. William Morris Endeavor is backed by private equity firm Silver Lake Partners.

Former News Corporation executive Peter Chernin has joined European fund CVC Capital and other investors in a bid for less than $2 billion. Meanwhile, ICM Partners will most likely also bid for less than $2 billion. ICM is another LA talent agency working with private equity firm Carlyle Group, the report said.

IMG has for years been the subject of sale speculation. It began preparing for an exit at the end of 2012. IMG has hired investment banks Morgan Stanley and Evercore earlier this year to market the sports agency, NY Times said.  

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