When the Music's Over

Determined not to play second fiddle to rival agents, IMG sells out of the classics to concentrate on sport. Abigail Townsend reports
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The Independent Online

Rports agency IMG has sold off its classical music arm, home to renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman.

Control of IMG Artists has been ceded to the American financier Barrett Wissman for an undisclosed amount, although it is believed he paid around $7.5m (£4.5m). It is understood the business, which Mr Wissman now chairs, will retain the name IMG Artists and links with the sports agency. Other clients include flautist Sir James Galway and the Grimethorpe Colliery Bank. But US-based IMG, founded by the late Mark McCormack, has decided to leave the sector as it does not fit with its core businesses.

Andrew Hampel, managing director of IMG Europe, Africa and Middle East, said: "It was a profitable business but we were not extracting the synergies that we maybe could or should have ... it didn't fit sufficiently within the portfolio."

Mr Hampel took over as European managing director last month from Eric Drossart, now European chairman. The privately owned company is reviewing its businesses as it attempts to bolster profits and reduce debt.