Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has agreed to invest US$400 million of equity in William Morris Endeavor Entertainment LLC (WME/IMG), a U.S. event organizer and talent agency. The investment, part of a US$1 billion deal also backed by Singapore’s GIC, will give CPPIB an 8 percent interest in the company. Beverly Hills, California-based WME/IMG represents artists and creators in the entertainment and sports industries. It also owns and operates sports, fashion and entertainment events, such as the Miami Open, and produces sports programming, among other activities. WME/IMG’s other investors include Silver Lake Partners.
Photo: Johanna Konta at Miami Open, 2017 (Reuters/Geoff Burke).
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Invests US$400 Million in WME / IMG
TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Aug. 2, 2017) – Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) announced today that it has committed to invest US$400 million of equity in WME / IMG, representing an 8% minority interest in the company.
WME / IMG represents a powerful and diverse roster of artists and creators across every entertainment vertical including motion picture, television, music, books, digital and theater. Its sports client roster ranges from professional athletes and sports federations and leagues to collegiate institutions.
“This investment in a unique, market leading platform in entertainment, sports and media further diversifies our portfolio,” said Ryan Selwood, Managing Director, Head of Direct Private Equity, CPPIB. “WME / IMG’s broadly diversified group of global businesses and management team with a proven track record of building shareholder value position the company well for growth, particularly in content production and distribution. We are pleased to have another opportunity to invest alongside Silver Lake, a longstanding partner, and WME / IMG’s management to support future growth of the business.”
WME / IMG also owns, operates or commercially represents hundreds of sports, fashion and entertainment events, including the Miami Open and New York Fashion Week, and curates premier culinary and globally franchised cultural festivals. The company works with top global advertisers to develop meaningful consumer platforms on behalf of its clients, and helps new and iconic brands optimize their licensing potential. WME / IMG also operates one of the largest sports training institutions in the world, IMG Academy.
Additionally, IMG produces more than 52,000 hours of sports programming and arranges to distribute an additional 32,000 hours on behalf of more than 200 clients including major sports leagues, events and entertainment properties each year. These include UFC, one of the largest and fastest growing sports brands in the world, reaching more than 152 countries and 1.1 billion television households. IMG is also an international leader in model management and talent discovery and manages the photographers, stylists, creative directors, hair and makeup artists, production designers and illustrators who bring the worlds of art and fashion to life.
About Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is a professional investment management organization that invests the funds not needed by the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) to pay current benefits on behalf of 20 million contributors and beneficiaries. In order to build a diversified portfolio of CPP assets, CPPIB invests in public equities, private equities, real estate, infrastructure and fixed income instruments. Headquartered in Toronto, with offices in Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Mumbai, New York City, São Paulo and Sydney, CPPIB is governed and managed independently of the Canada Pension Plan and at arm’s length from governments. At March 31, 2017, the CPP Fund totalled C$316.7 billion. For more information about CPPIB, please visit www.cppib.com or follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.
About WME / IMG
WME / IMG is a global leader in entertainment, sports and fashion operating in more than 30 countries. Named one of Fortune’s 25 Most Important Private Companies, WME / IMG specializes in talent representation and management; brand strategy, activation and licensing; media production, sales and distribution; and event management.
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Photo courtesy of Reuters/Geoff Burke