This is the leading Sports Management Co. which includes Tiger Woods
Vigyan Arya  on Thursday, July 10, 2008Theodore Forstmann
IMG, a leading, entertainment, media and sport management company has categorically denied any possibility of Dubai intending to buy stakes in the company.
In response to the stories that appeared in international media, IMG’s Senior Vice-President of Corporate Communications Jim Gallagher conveyed in an e-mail to Emirates Business that “IMG is not for sale”.
Earlier, it was reported that the Dubai International Capital, the foreign investment arm of the Dubai Holding is attempting to invest in the IMG for major stake that would give it decision-making powers.
The move, conveyed industry experts, would have catapulted the emirate to new heights in the field of sports and entertainment with instant returns on the investment.
Since the speculations of a “take over” started in the international press, a British paper reported IMG’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Theodore J Forstmann as pricing the company at around $3bn (Dh11bn). Reports had attributed the initiation of the DIC alleged bid to former Yahoo! and Warner Chief Terry Semel.
If the sale had gone through at the reported asking price, Forstmann, who bought IMG for $750m in 2004, stood to gain three times that price, which, industry observers say was very aggressive.
Industry experts believe the deal could have been of particular benefit to DIC and the emirate as Dubai Holding is behind major developments such as the Dubai Sports City, Universal Studios Dubai, Dreamworks Dubai and the Dubai Media City. Combining IMG’s experience at media and sporting management with these big-ticket projects, and its established sports and entertainment clients, could have been good.
IMG has also developed a profile in Dubai through its sports training unit, IMG Academies (IMGA).
In June last year, representatives of the Dubai Lifestyle City (DLC), a project of Dubai Holding, announced IMGA would be establishing its first facility outside the US at the new development. Among the services to be offered under the deal will be a tennis and a golfing academy and an international performance institute.
IMG’s businesses include: consulting services, event ownership and management, fashion events and models representation, licensing, golf course design, and client representation in sports such as golf, tennis, European football, rugby, cricket, motor sports and coaching, Olympic sports as well as action sports.
IMG Academies are the world’s largest and most advanced multi-sport training and educational facilities, delivering world-class sports training experiences to more than 12,000 junior, collegiate, adult and professional athletes each year.
Semel, is reported to have been in consultation with affluent officials in the region, and it was reported in the US media in early June that he had been courting the UAE sovereign wealth funds to underwrite a buyout of IMG.
Semel had an abrupt end with Yahoo! And had to vacate the top spot last year after being criticised by disgruntled shareholders over the sudden fall in the share value of internet giants by almost 35 per cent.
His salary and other benefits were also a bone of contention among the share holders, which was the highest of any chief executive on the S&P 500 list in 2006.
Since its establishment in 2004, DIC has made some impressive and sound investments abroad and has built up a substantial portfolio, including the Travelodge chain of hotels, German industrial packaging firm Mauser, and a 20 per cent stake in Merlin Entertainments.
IMG Media’s portfolio includes entertainment and sporting interests, television company Tiger Aspect, documentary programme maker Darlow Smithson and IMG Sports Media, an independent producer and distributor of sports programming.
IMG with a worldwide presence in 30 countries with 60 offices has an impressive stable of sporting stars including the golf’s world number one Tiger Woods and tennis player Maria Sharapova.
Tiger has already lent his name to one of the most high-profile golf courses in Dubai. The Tiger Woods Golf Course is expected to spell the ultimate in exclusivity and is to be operated and managed by IMG’s golf course management arm.

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