UPDATE 1-Former Yahoo CEO looking to buy talent agency IMG-paper

lunes 2 de junio de 2008 15:21 CEST
 

(Adds comments from IMG in paragraph 4)

BANGALORE, June 2 (Reuters) - Terry Semel, the former chief executive of Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O: Cotización) and Warner Brothers Entertainment, is considering a bid for Theodore Forstmann's talent and marketing agency IMG, the New York Post said on Monday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Semel has been meeting with private equity firms and the sovereign wealth funds of the United Arab Emirates and has raised enough money for a significant transaction, the newspaper said.

IMG is owned by Forstmann's buyout firm Forstmann Little & Co. Forstmann could not be reached for comment.

Jim Gallagher, an IMG spokesman, declined to confirm or deny the report. "Ted Forstmann's focus is on continuing to grow the company for the foreseeable future," he said.

It would take an offer of more than $3 billion to persuade a reluctant Forstmann to sell, but $2 billion might be a more realistic price, the newspaper said, citing the sources. Semel recently met Forstmann and his bankers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N: Cotización) to gauge their interest, the newspaper said, citing one source. Goldman has also been working with IMG, but is focusing on growth initiatives rather than a sale, the newspaper said.

Investors pushing for some kind of IMG deal could compel Forstmann to first sell a part of the agency, the newspaper said, citing sources, though Semel wants to buy all of it. Semel wants to transform IMG into a media and content company and bolster its digital operation, the newspaper said. Semel, along with other former Yahoo executives, launched the firm Windsor Media Capital earlier this year, the newspaper said. Windsor Media could not be reached for comment. (Reporting by Varsha Tickoo; Editing by Jason Neely, Himani Sarkar)