Endeavor Group Holdings is selling global sports education institution IMG Academy to BPEA EQT, a unit of private equity firm EQT, in an all-cash deal valued at $1.25 billion.
The transaction, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2023, will see IMG Academy partner with BPEA EQT’s portfolio company Nord Anglia Education, which operates some of the world’s leading premium international schools. Nord Anglia supports more than 75,000 students across 82 schools in 33 countries and has developed key partnerships with academic organizations including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and The Juilliard School to provide specialized curricula for students.
As part of the transaction, IMG Academy president Brent Richard will continue in his role, as will IMG Academy Bradenton president Tim Pernetti, NCSA president Lisa Strasman and Chief Growth Officer Ted Sullivan.
The sale of IMG Academy comes on the heels of Endeavor entering an agreement to merge the Ultimate Fighting Championship with Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment to create a new $21.4 billion live sports and entertainment company. Shares of Endeavor climbed approximately 3% in pre-market trading following news of the sale.
Headquartered in Bradenton, Florida, IMG Academy was founded in 1978 as the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. IMG acquired the Academy in 1987, and subsequently added golf as its second sport followed by programs for soccer and baseball and ultimately basketball, football, lacrosse, track & field, and volleyball. Endeavor acquired IMG in 2014, inclusive of IMG Academy, and has notably expanded both its on-campus and online offerings.
IMG Academy serves more than 100,000 student-athletes via a sports-focused boarding school, sports camps, online coaching and online college recruiting and helped place more than 30,000 students into college sports rosters in 2022. Athletes who have previously trained at the academy include Venus Williams, Serena Williams and Andre Agassi.
“IMG Academy is in a category of one for its combination of elite athletics and academics, as well as its legacy of developing superstar competitors in the game of life,” Endeavor president and COO Mark Shapiro said in a statement. “We’re proud to have been stewards of this institution, driving growth and innovation, as well as expanding its facilities and offerings. IMG Academy is in great hands for its next chapter with BPEA EQT.”
“We are deeply impressed by IMG Academy’s unique offering and its world-class sports and wellbeing curriculum,” Jack Hennessy, partner and co-head of education within BPEA EQT’s advisory team, added. “IMG Academy’s brand is globally recognized and we see compelling opportunities in supporting its international expansion, including Asia, and broadening its educational offering, leveraging BPEA EQT’s insights from having led Nord Anglia Education’s growth in the region.”
“Our purpose is to empower student-athletes to win their future, preparing them for college and for life,” Richard said in a statement. “We are constantly trying to raise the bar in pursuit of that purpose through our on-campus and online experiences. Simultaneously, our staff is passionate about growing the impact we have on the world, reaching more families, and helping them on their journey. BPEA EQT and Nord Anglia are ideal partners to achieve and accelerate those goals, and we are excited for that future.”
The Raine Group acted as financial advisor to Endeavor on the transaction. Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal advisor to Endeavor.