Learfield Communications Inc., a respected sports marketing agency owned by PE firm Providence Equity Partners has been looking for buyers for its business for quite sometime now. And now according to Bloomberg, the sale auction has progressed into the second round and Singapore’s state-owned investment fund, Temasek Holdings is among the top bidders.The sources aware of this development said entertainment and sports talent group Creative Artists Agency LLC(CAA) and Thomas H. Lee Partners are also participating in the round. The sovereign state fund may opt to bid in tandem with another group.
Learfield, has been owned by private equity firm Providence Equity Partners which acquired the majority ownership stake in the company from Shamrock Capital Advisors in 2013. It has been exploring a sale of the company that buys and sells media and marketing rights for 120 college programs for quite a while. The auction could bring as much as $1.2 billion in a sale. Temasek spokesman Paul Ewing-Chow responded to Bloomberg saying,
Temasek does not comment on market speculation or rumors.
CAA is owned by private equity firm TPG and manages more than $2.5 billion in sponsorship rights, according to its website. The company also manages athletes, including the National Basketball Association’s Dwyane Wade and the National Football League’s Richard Sherman, according to its website. TPG first invested in CAA in 2010 and then increased its holding to a majority stake in 2014.
Founded in 1972, Learfield is based out of Jefferson City, Missouri. The company has grown from a small regional radio network into a diverse multimedia enterprise and a respected leader in collegiate sports marketing. It helps athletic departments negotiate sponsorship and licensing deals.
It manages the athletic multimedia rights for nearly 100 collegiate properties through their Learfield Sports operating unit. Learfield also has long-term relationships within the major collegiate conferences and title the acclaimed Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, awarded annually to the top collegiate athletic departments.