IMG Up For Grabs

The sale of powerhouse sports and entertainment agency IMG is turning into a doozy, with more than 20 banks making bids and “expected to draw interest” from rival agencies including Creative Artists Agency and William Morris Endeavor.

”It’s sports, it’s big brands, it’s a big price and there’s scarcity value,” one major media banker told the New York Post. In other words, it’s a perfect storm of a play.

The sale of IMG, the “crown jewel” of the late Ted Forstmann’s empire is expected to fetch between $2.5 billion and $3 billion.  The first round of interviews ended about two weeks ago and the list is to be narrowed to about five contenders.

Speculation focuses on Goldman Sachs and ENK Holding as having an edge, with other bidders including JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Raine Group and Lion Tree Advisors believed to be in the running.

IMG owns rights to properties including Wimbledon, and reps athletes and models including Kate Upton and tennis pro Novak Djokovic.

The company’s sale has been expected since Forstmann’s 2011 death from brain cancer.