WME | IMG to Acquire Professional Bull Riders, Inc
By Rebecca Sun
April 15, 2015
WME | IMG has agreed to acquire Professional Bull Riders Inc., The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The acquisition is for north of $100 million, a figure first reported by Bloomberg Business.
PBR stages more than 300 bull-riding events around the world each year, drawing more than 3 million attendees. On television, the bull-riding circuit’s events reach more than 550 million households in more than 40 countries.
“We’ve worked closely with the PBR for the last several years and share their passion for expanding the sport of bull riding globally,” said WME | IMG co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell in a joint statement. “The resources across WME | IMG make the partnership a perfect match, combining top-quality event production and broadcast rights.”
PBR, founded in 1992 and headquartered in Colorado, is far and away the leading circuit in the sport of bull riding, drawing passionate devotees and casual fans alike. Its series include the elite PBR Built Ford Tough Series, the BlueDEF Velocity Tour, the Touring Pro Division and international circuits in Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico. It now joins WME | IMG’s other owned and operated properties, including Formula Drift Racing, the Miami Open, New York Fashion Week, Rio Open, Taste Festivals and the U.S. Open of Surfing. “The acquisition will allow our organization to continue its expansion worldwide, and bring our top-quality events to the masses,” said PBR chairman and CEO Jim Haworth in a statement. “I look forward to broadening our reach and continuing as America’s fastest-growing sport.”
WME | IMG is acquiring PBR from its shareholders, including controlling stakeholder Spire Capital Partners. The Raine Group and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP served as the agency’s financial and legal advisors, respectively, while financial advisor Evercore and legal advisor Dentons worked on PBR’s behalf.
Yesterday WME | IMG announced it had acquired Australian music booking agency Artist Voice, which joins a slew of additions this year alone: Dixon Talent, MADE Fashion Week, Global eSports Management and ICON Sports Management.