Sep 28, 2009 at 03:17 PM
written by

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, 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."