Sports rights – how to triple your money

Teddy Forstmann, the billionaire American private equity player, yesterday told The Times that he had already trebled his money from the £400 million purchase of the giant international sports agency IMG, whose clients include Maria Sharapova and Roger Federer, less than two years ago.

Mr Forstmann’s private equity group, Forstmann Little, bought IMG in 2004 after the death of its founder Mark McCormack.

McCormack had started the business in the 1960s by managing the legal and financial affairs of Arnold Palmer, over the years expanding to take in other golfers and tennis players, diversifying worldwide into event staging, TV rights and production, through to opera and even looking after top journalists – SJA member Ian Wooldridge has been a long-term client.

Mr Forstmann, who shaped the modern-day private equity industry, has been rebuilding IMG with a series of high-profile hires.

Yesterday it emerged that he had poached back Ian Todd from Nike, where he was head of sports marketing and one of the Oregon-based company’s five top-paid executives – Todd was reputed to be on a $1 million salary in 2001, shortly after he joined the sportswear giant.

Todd, who worked for IMG for 26 years, will return as head of the group outside the United States.

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