Sports talent and marketing agency IMG Worldwide has been sold to Hollywood rival William Morris Endeavour and private equity group Silver Lake in a $2.3bn (£1.4bn) deal.
The deal creates a global talent management company bringing together Hollywood clients including Oprah Winfrey, Matt Damon and Christian Bale with sports stars such as Novak Djokovic and NFL star Peyton Manning, as well as singers Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift.
"IMG has incredible strategic value to WME," said WME co-chief executives Patrick Whitesell and Ariel Emanuel. "Supported by Silver Lake's continued partnership, WME and IMG together will deliver a broad range of opportunities and resources to the companies and talent we collectively represent."
Whitesell and Emanuel, the inspiration for Jeremy Piven's outrageous agent Ari Gold in the TV series Entourage, will become joint chief executives of the merged company.
The sale marks a long-awaited exit for Forstmann Little, the private equity group that acquired IMG for $750m in 2004.
Last year, Silver Lake took a 31% stake in William Morris Endeavour.
"IMG is well positioned in large and expanding end markets, with significant and untapped potential for growth," said Egon Durban, managing partner of Silver Lake. "We look forward to building on IMG's illustrious heritage by accelerating its existing growth plans and expanding the company's digital platform."
Mudabala Development Company is a minority investor in the deal.
WME's rival Creative Artists Agency is understood to have been involved in the bidding, but dropped out of the auction process.
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Original headline: William Morris Endeavour and Silver Lake buy IMG Worldwide for $2.3bn
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