Even the Great Ari Emanuel Can’t Save Hollywood Talent Agents from Layoffs

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Ari Emanuel,   co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor Agency,   speaks at the All Things D conference in Rancho Palos Verdes

Sports and media company IMG, which is now co-owned by high power Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel, is laying of 3% of its staff. This comes to about 100 people.

The move comes only seven months after it was acquired by Beverly Hills-based agency run by co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell WME for more than $2 billion and in spite of the recent high profile signing of Wayne Gretzky. Not even the Great One, it seems, could save it.

Emanuel and Whitesell told employees in a public memo:

“In the seven months since WME acquired IMG, we’ve been focused on helping this company live up to its potential as the global leader in sports, media and fashion. We’ve worked alongside all of you to consolidate businesses, create new roles, and collaborate across departments in ways that will fundamentally change not just WME | IMG but ultimately our industry. We’ve seen firsthand how hard you’ve all been working to bring these two companies together, and we’re grateful.

“As you’ve heard us say, we are incredibly well-positioned for the future. We’ve had a strong start financially, the business is performing well around the world, and our ability to connect, develop, and promote artists, athletes, media and brands is unmatched at a time when our industry has never been stronger.

“But to take full advantage of the opportunity that lies ahead, we have to make some tough choices about how we allocate our resources at IMG. In the coming month, we’ll be updating you on some changes in the business that will help ensure we’re all set up to succeed.

“As a first step in this process, we will be downsizing three percent of our workforce across IMG in the coming weeks.

“These decisions aren’t easy, but they are necessary for us to best position IMG for future growth and success. These changes will allow us to more effectively invest in our future through acquisitions; to re-allocate our resources to high-growth businesses; and ensure we realize our full potential across WME | IMG.”

The layoffs do not affect WME.

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