WME-Owned IMG Cuts 100 Employees

The sports and marketing agency says reductions will affect global operations over the next few weeks

Last Updated: December 1, 2014 @ 7:02 PM

IMG, the sports and marketing company acquired seven months ago by talent agency WME, is finally feeling the effects of synergy.

Staff cuts totaling three percent will take place in the coming weeks, affecting both domestic and international offices, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.

“This is a part of any two companies coming together,” the individual said, “it’s eliminating redundancies.”

TheWrap has learned that no specific department targeted, belt-tightening will span across European operations, travel and expenses and administrative aspects at the company.

IMG has a stable of sports talent ranging from college football to pro tennis players, and it produces large scale events like Fashion Weeks in New York, Berlin and Australia.

In May, TheWrap reported WME co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell tapped Silicon Valley’s Silver Lake Partners to help finance the $2.45 billion acquisition. With IMG in the fold, that increased Silver Lake’s ownership stake in WME from 31 to 50 percent. Emanuel and Whitesell, however, retain corporate control of both companies through 2024.

The incubation period has seen some departures: former Microsoft executive Peter Klein, who was said to have spearheaded the financing of the IMG deal, exited citing personal reasons in July. Weeks later, a 15-year veteran of IMG and their global head of consulting David Abrutyn departed in the same vague manner. In August, IMG sports and entertainment president David Pyne left the agency for an independent venture.

Read WME’s internal staff memo from Emanuel and Whitsell here:

In the seven months since WME acquired IMG, we’ve been focused on helping this company live up to its potential as the global leader in sports, media and fashion. We’ve worked alongside all of you to consolidate businesses, create new roles, and collaborate across departments in ways that will fundamentally change not just WME | IMG but ultimately our industry. We’ve seen firsthand how hard you’ve all been working to bring these two companies together, and we’re grateful.

As you’ve heard us say, we are incredibly well-positioned for the future. We’ve had a strong start financially, the business is performing well around the world, and our ability to connect, develop, and promote artists, athletes, media and brands is unmatched at a time when our industry has never been stronger.

But to take full advantage of the opportunity that lies ahead, we have to make some tough choices about how we allocate our resources at IMG. In the coming month, we’ll be updating you on some changes in the business that will help ensure we’re all set up to succeed.

As a first step in this process, we will be downsizing three percent of our workforce across IMG in the coming weeks.

These decisions aren’t easy, but they are necessary for us to best position IMG for future growth and success. These changes will allow us to more effectively invest in our future through acquisitions; to re-allocate our resources to high-growth businesses; and ensure we realize our full potential across WME | IMG.

Thank you all in advance for your help through this transition. Changes like these are always difficult, and we appreciate your hard work and dedication.

AE PW