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Forstmann Little rejects $2bn Colony bid for IMG in favour of auction

7 May 2013

Novak DjokovicForstmann Little has reportedly rejected a $2bn buyout bid for its talent marketing business IMG Worldwide from fellow private equity firm Colony Capital.

Colony’s bid came in at the bottom-end of the $2bn to $3bn Forstmann hopes to raise through an auction of the business, people familiar with the matter told the FT.

The company, which manages sports stars including tennis champion Novak Djokovic, pictured, golf legend Ernie Els and NFL star Victor Cruz, could fetch more than $2bn in a sale according to Reuters.

Forstmann is winding down its buyout operations having suffered heavily from exposure to telecoms investments during the dotcom bubble.

The firm was supposed to have sold all the assets from its fund and return money to investors by June 30 last year, but LPs allowed it extra time to dispose of 24 Hour Fitness and IMG.

It bought into IMG for about $700m in 2004 following a three-month auction.

Colony’s offer was made in tandem with funds linked to the Qatari royal family according to Reuters, which added the pair had also failed with a $7bn bid for property and entertainment group AEG earlier this year.

It said Silver Lake Partners and Guggenheim Partners could be interested in bidding through the auction, as could India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani.

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