Fidelity invests $55 million in talent agency WME-IMG

By Scott Soshnick and Lucas Shaw
April 22, 2016


Fidelity Management & Research Co., the second-largest U.S. mutual fund company, has invested $55 million in WME-IMG LLC, the entertainment, sports and fashion group said Wednesday.

Fidelity’s investment comes less than a month after Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp. said it had paid $250 million for a minority stake in WME-IMG, in a deal that valued the agency at $5.5 billion. Private equity firm Silver Lake Management LLC owns a majority stake in the company.

WME-IMG, created in 2014 when the talent-management agency acquired IMG for $2.4 billion, is looking for money so it can expand in areas such as sports and fashion. IMG sells media rights to sporting events, produces and owns events such as New York Fashion Week, and oversees marketing for many U.S. colleges.

WME-IMG has since made 12 acquisitions, including a professional bull riding league, stylist and make-up artist agency The Wall Group and the organization that puts on the Miss Universe pageant. This week the company said it had formed a strategic partnership with Frieze, a London-based media and events company.

The company wants to build a stable of complementary businesses that feed into one another. WME’s relationships in entertainment helped pave the way for the creation of an eSports league with Turner Broadcasting while IMG’s college business provides another avenue for WME’s musicians to tour.

The Raine Group, in which WME owns a stake, advised the company on the deal.