Former CNN and Turner exec Greg D’Alba has joined WME and IMG as president of Global Sales and Marketing. He will work with co-CEOs Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel, oversee all brand partnerships and lead the companies’ sales and marketing strategy. He starts this week and will be based in NY. As president of CNN News Networks and Turner’s digital ad sales and marketing, D’Alba oversaw domestic ad sales, marketing strategies and business operations for CNN’s portfolio of networks and Turner’s digital portfolio of news, entertainment, sports and animation properties, as well as its direct response business.
UPDATED, 8:30 PM: The deal officially has closed today, and here is a welcoming letter to IMG Worldwide employees from WME Co-CEOs Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel looking forward to “what will surely be an epic collaboration”:
Our acquisition of IMG has officially closed, and we’d like to take this opportunity to express how excited we are to work with all of you.
Whether you’ve been here for 20 years or two weeks, think of today as day one.
IMG wouldn’t be where it is today without the incredible employees that define its culture. You’ve been amazing throughout this process, and we’re ready to get started on what will surely be an epic collaboration.
Patrick and Ariel
PREVIOUSLY, December 18: It’s done now. After some last-minute tweaking of the finer points of the $2.2 billion deal, talent, management and licensing powerhouse IMG Worldwide has been acquired by WME and Silver Lake Partners. WME’s Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell will serve as as co-CEOs of the now mega-agency, though IMG and its more than 3,000 employees worldwide will continue as an independent entity, the parties announced this morning. “IMG has incredible strategic value to WME. The brand’s global reach, outstanding management team and leadership across sports, fashion and media are a strong complement to our business,” Whitesell and Emanuel said in a statement. Details are sketchy and there is a lot of …
The Hollywood agency and its financial cohort Silver Lake Partners have emerged from a pack of deep-pocketed suitors and are near a deal to acquire talent and management powerhouse IMG Worldwide. Deal figures have been murky during this entire bidding process, but we’re hearing the sale price is around $2 billion. A deal is imminent, we’re told, but no announcement is coming tonight. Other details: IMG, the powerhouse firm that reps athletes and models among several divisions, would function independently under the new structure, but its owners Forstmann Little would have have no equity stake.
If and when this one makes, it will enlarge agency powerhouse WME and put the latest feather in the caps of WME co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, who have been focused on big-picture growth since their Endeavor merged with William Morris in 2009. Since then they have expanded WME’s reach on several fronts including digital, culminating in May 2012 when WME and Silver Lake launched their strategic digital partnership, with the private equity firm acquiring a 31% non-controlling stake in the agency.
EXCLUSIVE: Elisabeth Hasselbeck has signed with WME, where Jim Ornstein will handle The View co-host’s representation. Hasselback had been with Babette Perry at IMG, but sources say the former Survivor contestant had become unhappy with the way negotiations with ABC were being handled and decided it was time for a change. Hasselbeck’s husband, former NFL quarterback and ESPN analyst Tim Hasselbeck, is already signed with Ornstein. Hasseback has been on The View since 2003. Ornstein recently saw Live! With Kelly host Kelly Ripa leave WME for CAA.
Related: Obama Gives ‘The View’ Ratings Boost
As expected, IMG and Forstmann Little today carried out the wishes of their late boss Tedd Forstmann by choosing his handpicked successors to lead the companies after his death. And, no, Michael Ovitz wasn’t mentioned:
NEW YORK, NY — IMG Worldwide, a leading global sports, fashion and media company, announced today that the shareholders of IMG have unanimously elected Michael Dolan Chairman of IMG and the IMG Board of Directors has unanimously elected him Chief Executive Officer, following the passing of IMG’s former Chairman and Chief Executive Ted Forstmann. Mr. Dolan joined IMG in early 2010 as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. In April 2011, Mr. Forstmann appointed Mike Dolan to President and Chief Operating Officer to lead day-to-day management of the company, and serve as Mr. Forstmann’s hand-picked successor to run the company following his death.
“Mike’s broad global experience and record of success makes him a clear choice to lead IMG forward,” said Julian Robertson, founder of the investment firm Tiger Management who was appointed this morning Chairman of Forstmann Little &Co. “Mike has the vision, experience, passion and leadership skills to ensure IMG’s continued growth and success.” Mr. Robertson has also been elected to the Board of Directors of IMG.
Following his election to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mike Dolan said, “Over the past two years we have developed a strategic plan for the company that is powerful and has already begun to produce significant sustainable results. We are committed to growing the business to maximize the value for our shareholders.” In addition, the Board of Directors of IMG said that it concurs that the maximum value of the company can best be achieved as a standalone company.
There will be no formal announcement because IMG desperately wants all the damaging talk to quiet down. So the unsavory Michael Ovitz situation was handled in private this week with a formal IMG letter removing him from owner Teddy Forstmann’s advisory board. (One insider tells me that three other board members who backed Ovitz’s alleged takeover attempt were removed as well. But I have no additional confirmation so won’t go into detail.) Thus ignobly ends yet another of Ovitz’s longest personal and professional relationships after he was accused of maneuvering to run and/or own the global management and production giant while 71-year-old Teddy battled brain cancer.