Industry News

IMG College in merger talks with Learfield

The IMG College division of the WME|IMG agency is reportedly negotiating a merger deal with the owner of Paciolan, Learfield Sports agency.

The two agencies have already operated a joint venture in the ticketing sector – IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions, which launched in 2012.

A report said it is anticipated that Learfield’s president and chief executive, Greg Brown, would lead the combined entity.

IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions provides ticketing and data solutions for US colleges and universities in an effort to increase fundraising revenue, sales and optics.

A source told the Forbes business news website that the two agencies would form a 50-50 venture. Together, the organisations manage rights distribution for almost 90 per cent of North America’s universities in the ‘Power Five’ conferences.

The IMG College division runs almost 90 universities and conferences, while Learfield, which last month struck a multimedia rights partnership with the Atlantic 10 Conference, has more than 130 college partners.

Earlier this year, Learfield acquired Paciolan, Spectra’s ticketing and marketing division, as it looked to broaden its offering to major schools in North America. Learfield also announced that its acquisition, a leader in providing ticketing, fundraising, marketing and analytics solutions to athletic and entertainment events, will be rebranded from Spectra’s Ticketing & Fan Engagement back to the name it was given when founded in 1980, Paciolan.

In addition, IMG acquired Collegiate Licensing Company and Host Communications for $300m in 2007 before adding ISP Sports to its portfolio in 2010.

Learfield acquired by private equity firm Atairos Group through Providence Equity Partners for a reported $1.3bn (€1.08bn/£963m) close to a year ago.

Image: D. Myles Cullen