IMG Worldwide, the global sports, fashion, and media group, is partnering with WPP to provide licensing services to clients from the marketing communications holding company.
As part of the multiyear pact, WPP and IMG will create a joint team and share resources. The new WPP venture is in addition to IMG Licensing's existing operations which will continue to operate unchanged.
"More than ever, licensing is emerging as one of the new creative ways of developing brands and sales," said Martin Sorrell, WPP’s CEO. "It is a capability we see as increasingly important to our clients."
Sorrell’s career began at a predecessor company to IMG. After getting his MBA from Harvard, in 1975 Sorrell went to work with Mark McCormack, the founder of the current entity, originally known as International Management Group.
McCormack was a lawyer who identified endorsement potential for athletes in the era of television and signed up golfer Arnold Palmer as his first client. He died in 2003, and the company is now owned by Forstmann Little.