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SoftBank invests in WME IMG

Tech Firm Makes $250 million investment into agency powerhouse

By IQ on 24 Mar 2016

WME IMG co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell welcome new investor SoftBank

WME IMG co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell

Japanese technology firm SoftBank Group has invested $250 million in agency powerhouse WME IMG, becoming a partner alongside fellow investment house Silver Lake.

In a statement yesterday (23 March), the talent agency revealed it would use the funding to “advance its global growth strategy through new investments, acquisitions and joint ventures.”

“We’re thrilled to welcome industry leader SoftBank to WME IMG,” co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell commented. “SoftBank brings a unique industry perspective and a commitment to help us deliver valuable new opportunities to our clients and partners in markets around the world.”

New investment values WME IMG at about $5.5 billion

According to the Financial Times, the deal values WME IMG, at about $5.5 billion, including its content and event production operations. It believes that SoftBank’s investment gives it about 8% of the equity in the agency.

“Ari, Patrick and the rest of WME IMG’s talented management team have a strong record of performance and transformation at the intersection of entertainment, sports and fashion,” says SoftBank director Ron Fisher, who oversaw the investment process. “We look forward to supporting WME IMG as it advances the next phase of its growth, further developing and driving its client and content offerings.”