Sep 28, 2009 at 03:17 PM
IMG Boss, Ted Forstmann, Talks Shop
Ted Forstmann, Chairman and CEO of IMG, sat down with the BBC in a fascinating interview for Hard Talk last Friday. Go watch the full video interview here. In case you don't have 25 mins to watch the full thing, we pulled a few interesting tidbits from Forstmann...
"The earnings are four times higher than when we bought it and I think it has terrific prospects. I did pay a lot relative to what the company was doing when I bought it, but I paid not a lot at all relative to what the company is doing now."
"I love sports, that's not why I bought the company....I saw the possibility to do what we do, which is to make this company much bigger, much more successful and much more profitable."
"We have been in a very serious economic recession and I don't know a business that hasn't been adversely affected... sports, sponsorship, advertising are all things that have been affected as well."
"We've gotten back to more normal pricing on things and there's going to have to be an adjustment."
"I think Tiger's going to be a lot more exempt [from sponsorships and endorsements] than everyone else."
[on starting athletes at a young age at IMG academies] "it's like asking me do I think anyone should ever become a ballet dancer because they have to start young in life, or should they become a musician or any of these things... in order tobe at the top of your profession in almost anything these days you have to start pretty young, be pretty dedicated... would I encourage one of my kids to do that, probably not because I'd like them to have a more rounded life..."
[CCTV and IMG] is a virtually 50/50 joint venture, where both parties have to agree, whether it's a ping pong tournament or whatever, that it's something we want to do. If we both want to do, we create it and produce it, they televise it."
"event entertainment has some political overtones to it, sports really doesn't, which is why I think we got this joint venture [with China] done."
"[on India Cricket] we signed a deal which is the kind of deal I like to do, if it doesn't work we won't make much money, but if it does work we'll do quite well along with you."
India as a country for sports is absolutely fascinating because other than Cricket, it's kind of a blank slate.
[why has IMG never gotten into soccer?] "in my mind more so than anything else, things in football are very full priced whatever you're talking about."
[why wouldn't you buy a pro sports team?] "as a financial buyer with other people's money, which...now I have my own, but it doesn't work.. it doesn't pencil out. The only thing that can make it work is if the franchise value goes up."
[is IMG the last turnaround job you'll do] "yes."
"Money has never made a big difference to me at all. I had an idea, I was there at the beginning of what is called Private Equity... ideas are what motivate me. I have an idea for IMG, it just happens to be sports... when that finishes, I want do to stuff for children which is kind of what I've done for half my life for the last 20 years."
[regarding raising another Private Equity fund] "I decided not to raise another fund because of all of the excesses that were going on, I don't know how to compete where anything goes and you're in business to charge fees. It just wasn't my way of doing things."