TPG Emerges in Bid for Learfield

Oct 11, 2016

"363x277learfield2016"TPG Capital, San Francisco, is among the final bidders to purchase collegiate sports licensor Learfield Communications for $1.2 billion, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Four bidders have emerged in the Learfield sale: TPG, Comcast’s Atairos, New Mountain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners. TPG’s interest is noteworthy because the company owns a majority share of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) which operates a sports division that represents athletes.

Whether TPG would merge CAA Sports and Learfield should it win the bidding war still is unclear. CAA Sports already owns collegiate licensing agency Fermata Partners.

Providence Equity Partners acquired Learfield in 2013 before putting it back on the market in July of this year. Should TPG emerge victorious in the bid for Learfield, it would deepen the rivalry between Silver Lake Partners-backed William Morris Endeavor Entertainmnet (WME) — which purchased IMG, parent company for the Collegiate Licensing Co. (CLC), for $2.4 million two years ago — and CAA, according to The Hollywood Reporter. — M.Q.