CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The new owner of West Virginia University athletics' multimedia rights has a new owner of its own.
The William Morris Endeavor Entertainment talent agency and private equity firm Silver Lake announced Wednesday they had struck a deal to acquire IMG Worldwide, parent company of WVU rights-holder IMG College, from its current private equity owner, Forstmann Little & Co.
The deal is valued at nearly $2.4 billion, according to Bloomberg. The companies did not disclose financial details of the transaction Wednesday.
West Virginians are more familiar with IMG Worldwide's college sports arm IMG College, which already managed Marshall University's multimedia rights before also winning the bid -- twice -- for WVU's rights earlier this year.
However, IMG College, which didn't exist before 2006, is just a small portion of the global, sports, fashion and media agency founded by Mark McCormack and golfer Arnold Palmer in 1960. The company has more than 3,500 employees in 30 countries.
The sale came as no surprise to industry experts. Forstmann Little -- which paid $750 million for the company in 2004 -- had been soliciting interest for IMG for more than a year, according to multiple reports.
Analysts liked the marriage of IMG and William Morris. IMG counts Peyton Manning and Gisele Bündchen among its talent roster; William Morris represents entertainment stars like Oprah, Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga.
Shervin Mirhashemi, chief operating officer of Legends Hospitality Management, a joint venture between the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys, told Bloomberg the combination of William Morris's roster of Hollywood stars and IMG's athletes and models makes for a "home run acquisition."
"It allows them to be a truly integrated solution for their clients across a diverse set of verticals," Mirhashemi said. "It will be interesting to see how the two companies and their cultures and people are integrated."