Agent for Peyton Manning, Taylor Swift Leaves IMG Ahead of WME Deal Closing (Exclusive)

WME is raising debt to finance its $2.4 billion acquisition of IMG

Last Updated: August 4, 2014 @ 10:26 AM

Alan Zucker, an agent at IMG with clients such as Peyton Manning, Maria Sharapova and Taylor Swift, is leaving for a rival sports agency on the eve of IMG’s acquisition by William Morris Endeavor, TheWrap has learned.

“He has tendered his resignation,” IMG spokesman Jim Gallagher told TheWrap. “We wish him the best in his future endeavors.” ESPN reporter Darrin Rovell tweeted that Zucker is leaving for Excel Sports, a competitor to IMG with clients such as Derek Jeter and Blake Griffin.

Also read: Is Ari Emanuel Spooking Talent At IMG Worldwide? WME Denies New Report

IMG did not specify which clients would be leaving with Zucker, but those familiar with his plans indicate football superstars Peyton and Eli Manning will follow Zucker. The brothers, two of the most successful quarterbacks in the NFL, are very close to him.

Zucker handles the country music star’s international sponsorship deals; most of her touring business is handled by a manager based in Nashville.

Zucker is coalan-zucker-agent-profilensidered one of the best sports marketing agents in the business.

Tennis star Sharapova, Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer and quarterback Matthew Stafford will remain at IMG, according to an executive familiar with Zucker’s plans. Other Zucker clients include hall of fame quarterback Joe Montana and broadcaster Jim Nantz.

Also read: WME, Silver Lake Reach Deal for IMG

The departure comes as IMG is in the process of being sold to WME for $2.4 billion, a deal that will lead to many changes at both the Hollywood talent firm and the sports behemoth.  Insiders expect many agents will leave both companies while WME will also bring in several others as it begins to take control of IMG’s business. WME has not assumed control yet, and is in the process of raising debt from banks to finance the deal.

IMG’s business consists of far more than talent representation, as the bulk of its revenue comes from college sports marketing and worldwide events.