The agency announced it would use the money from both Fidelity and SoftBank “to advance its global growth strategy through new investments, acquisitions and joint ventures.” SoftBank’s $250 million infusion was announced last month. WME also unveiled Wednesday that it has entered a strategic partnership with Frieze, an arts media and events company based in London.
The agency depicted the latest moves as part of its continuing growth strategy, which included a dozen acquisitions in 2015 (The Wall Group, Professional Bull Riders and Miss Universe among them). In other moves, WME formed join ventures last year, including one with ELeague, an electronic sports league that was created in conjunction with Turner.
The latest action come two years after WME merged with sports, entertainment and marketing giant IMG. The company said in its announcement that each year it produces over 52,000 hours of sports programming, and arranges to distribute an additional 32,000 hours, on behalf of more than 200 clients, including major sports leagues and events. It said it also owns, operates or commercially represents more than 800 events — two-thirds of which are sports — including professional golf and tennis tournaments.
The Raine Group acted as exclusive financial advisor and placement agent on the deal, and Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP was legal advisor to WME-IMG.