WME/IMG in Chinese JV with Tencent & Sequoia Capital China


SHENZHEN: WME/IMG has entered into a new China-based joint venture with Sequoia Capital China and internet group Tencent to expand its business in the country across sports and entertainment.

The investment is led by leading venture capital and private equity firm Sequoia Capital China. Tencent, which provides internet services in China, and FountainVest Partners, a China-focused private equity firm, are also part of the consortium. The creation of the new JV will allow the U.S. conglomerate to venture into Chinese sports and entertainment.

“WME/IMG has had a formidable foothold in China for a number of years,” said Neil Shen, founding and managing partner of Sequoia Capital China. “With the incredible growth they have been experiencing domestically, we saw this as a perfect opportunity to help them replicate that success in China within both sports and entertainment. This partnership is another example that Sequoia Capital China plays an instrumental role in helping leading internet and media companies grow and expand in China.”

Martin Lau, the president of Tencent, commented: “We believe there’s significant potential for WME/IMG’s impact in China. Given our popular internet platforms, as well as [our] network of relationships within media and entertainment, we are presented with a unique opportunity to help them optimize their growth strategy in our home market.”

“Our focus is on identifying industry leaders with high growth potential in the Chinese market,” said George Chuang, partner and managing director at FountainVest Partners. “We and Focus Media, our joint venture partner for investing in this opportunity, look forward to helping an entertainment and sports leader like WME/IMG reach its next stage of growth in China.”

“We have a deep history in China rooted in our sports business across areas as varied as events, media, representation and licensing,” said Ariel Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, WME/IMG co-CEOs. “Through Sequoia Capital China’s incredible effort in leading this consortium and creating this joint venture, we’re able to expand our business while embarking on new initiatives to create exciting opportunities for our clients and partners.”