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WME targets C-pop stars with new joint venture

A new JV with a Chinese consortium will see WME-IMG expand its sports and fashion activities in the PRC and embark on "new forays into Chinese entertainment"

By IQ on 10 Jun 2016

Patrick Whitesell, WME-IMG

WME-IMG co-CEO Patrick Whitesell

image © IEBA

Booking agency William Morris Endeavor (WME) is expanding its Chinese operation with backing from private-equity firms Sequoia Capital and FountainVest Partners and Asia’s largest internet company, Tencent.

WME parent company WME-IMG already has a significant presence in the People’s Republic of China, representing high-profile athletes and models and co-promoting sports and fashion events. The new joint venture, between WME-IMG and the Sequoia Capital-led consortium, will allow for “expansion in these areas, in addition to new forays into Chinese sports and entertainment”, says a press release from the agency.

“We have a deep history in China, rooted in our sports business across areas as varied as events, media, representation and licensing,” Ariel Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, the company’s co-CEOs, say in a statement. “Through Sequoia Capital China’s incredible effort in leading this consortium and creating this joint venture, we’re able to expand our business while embarking on new initiatives to create exciting opportunities for our clients and partners.”

WME-IMG – formed in late 2013 after music and media agency William Morris Endeavor and corporate parent Silver Lake Partners bought sports agency International Management Group for US$2.3 billion – in April secured close to $6m in funding from wealth-management firm Fidelity and Japanese telecoms company SoftBank.


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