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Licensing Mergers: IMG Acquires Auction and Live Events Company

By Allison Watkinson

TLL Reporter

The licensing and brand giant IMG has acquired a majority stake in the collector car auction and live events company Barrett-Jackson.

Barrett-Jackson’s events and high-energy auctions are known to attract many auto collectors, fans and celebrities, as well as millions of TV viewers.

Its flagship Scottsdale event, founded in 1971, auctions highly sought-after and valuable automobiles and annually welcomes more than 300,000 attendees, making it one of the oldest and largest collector car auction events in the world.

Barrett-Jackson is more than just an auction house, as the company’s sales attract a massive audience on the A+E network.

As a majority stakeholder, IMG will serve as Barrett-Jackson’s strategic partner. Craig Jackson, CEO of Barrett-Jackson, says he will look to leverage IMG and Endeavor’s global network and expertise in building world-class event experiences and brands to further grow the automotive company.

“Pairing Barrett-Jackson with the unique power of the Endeavor network is an unparalleled opportunity for our company, immediately opening doors to amplify and accelerate the growth of Barrett-Jackson as a global lifestyle brand,” said Jackson.

“I couldn’t be more excited to have the best partner as we look to optimize our fan experience and create new touchpoints for car enthusiasts around our live events and media offerings.”

IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media. The company manages some of the world’s best athletes and fashion icons; owns and operates hundreds of live events annually; and is an independent producer and distributor of sports and entertainment media. IMG is a subsidiary of Endeavor, a global sports and entertainment company.

“We have long been admirers of Barrett-Jackson and have seen first-hand the scale, excitement and 50 years of tradition surrounding their events,” said Ariel Emanuel, Endeavor CEO.

“Like IMG, Barrett-Jackson is a pioneer of its industry, and we look forward to working with Craig and his team to build on its impressive legacy across categories including experiences, hospitality, content, marketing and partnerships.”

IMG’s investment in Barrett-Jackson comes at a strategic time. Interest in collector cars and live events is at a record high. Consumer demand for auto-related content and collector car prices has jumped in recent years and car collectors are increasingly trending in the younger demographic.

“After more than 25 years with Barrett-Jackson, I can’t wait for this next chapter for our customers,” said Steve Davis, President of Barrett-Jackson. “We’ve built something incredibly special and with the expertise and relationships of IMG, Craig and I look forward to elevating our offering and attracting a whole new generation of fans.”

Since Jackson took over as CEO of Barrett-Jackson in 1995, the company has expanded into a number of new areas. The company implemented the popular no-reserve auction format and began broadcasting its auctions and events to more than 200 territories via A+E Networks.

More recently, the company entered the online car listings and auction business through its acquisition of the Collector Car Network, the parent company for ClassicCars.com and AutoHunter.com, which garner more than five million monthly online visitors.

Moelis & Company LLC served as the exclusive financial advisor to Barrett-Jackson while Eisner LLP, DLA Piper LLP and Perkins Coie LLP acted as legal advisors to the company. Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal advisor to Endeavor.

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