What do Oprah Winfrey and Maria Sharapova have in common? Soon, they could both be represented by the same company. Hollywood talent titan William Morris Endeavor Entertainment has reached a deal to buy the massive sports agency IMG Worldwide, the companies announced today. "IMG has incredible strategic value," WME's co-CEOs said in a statement. IMG's "leadership across sports, fashion, and media are a strong complement to our business."
WME, and its private equity partner Silver Lake, will pay about $2.4 billion, sources tell the Wall Street Journal, beating out a bid from another private equity firm, CVC Capital Partners, for about $2 billion. The deal is in part a sign that movie stars aren't what they used to be, the Journal explains; Hollywood agencies are diversifying in part because contracts for A-list stars have fallen off significantly. The fall of sitcoms and rise of original cable shows have also cut into once massive syndication revenues. (Read more William Morris stories.)