Coming Soon: Mega-Agency for Actors, Athletes

William Morris, IMG tie the knot
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2013 9:25 AM CST
Coming Soon: Mega-Agency for Actors, Athletes
Russian Maria Sharapova returns the ball against Serbian Ana Ivanovic during an exhibition match in Bogota, Colombia, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.   (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

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. (More William Morris stories.)

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