IMG Academy parent company retains banks for potential sale

Evercore, Morgan Stanley to oversee bidding process for IMG Worldwide

cschelle@bradenton.comAugust 16, 2013 

MANATEE -- IMG Academy's parent company is soliciting bids for a potential sale as the conglomerate considers its options.

The private equity firm that owns IMG Worldwide in New York, Forstmann Little & Co., announced that is strategically evaluating "alternative courses of action" for IMG Worldwide.

Those steps include retaining Evercore and Morgan Stanley to serve as financial advisers for the investment company during the process, according to the announcement.

Forstman Little said that no timetable has been set for the process, and they can't guarantee a sale will arise out of the bidding process.

IMG Worldwide's companies range from representing supermodels and professional athletes, to producing sports events, licensing media rights for college teams, sports performance research and its private academy in Bradenton.

The company, and local IMG officials, have declined to comment further unless a sale is completed or "further disclosure becomes appropriate."

Financial publications have linked several sports and investment agencies to a possible deal, including rival agency Creative Artists Agency, the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Carlyle Group LP.

The effect on IMG Academy from a potential sale of IMG Worldwide is unknown, and IMG Academy officials told the Bradenton Herald in June that it's business as usual at the academy. Some of IMG Worldwide's top officials work at the academy's 5500 34th St. W. location.

"Our job is to keep our eye on the ball and not allow any process or potential process to distract us," Sam Zussman, senior vice president of IMG Worldwide and managing director of IMG Performance, told the Herald in June.

The equity firm Forstmann Little was expected to divest itself after it founder Teddy Forstmann wanted to sell IMG after he acquired it for $750 million in 2004. Forstmann died in 2011, and IMG has since been managed by his estate through Forstmann Little.

Bloomberg reported that IMG could garner a $2 billion asking price.

Charles Schelle, business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him at@ImYourChuck.

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