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TEDDY’S LEGACY: With the death Sunday of Theodore J. “Ted” Forstmann, the 71-year-old chairman and chief executive officer of IMG Worldwide, observers quietly speculated about the future of the company, which has significant connections to the fashion world. Since the acquisition of IMG in 2004, Forstmann had become a noted presence in the industry, spearheading Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which stretched from New York to Berlin, Tokyo, Russia and Australia, as well as Lakmé Fashion Week in Mumbai and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim in Miami. IMG’s fashion properties also include IMG Models (Alek Wek, Carolyn Murphy, Daria Werbowy, Erin Wasson and Gisele Bündchen); Art + Commerce (Patrick Demarchelier, Craig McDean, Steven Meisel, Ellen von Unwerth), and IMG Licensing (Anya Hindmarch, Nicole Miller, Perry Ellis, Vera Bradley and Vuarnet).
“With Ted’s passing, people think we must be in absolute chaos. Ted Forstmann was a iconic businessman who bought and sold 39 companies....For anyone to think that he left this company rudderless, confused or dazed is the silliest concept I can think of,” said an IMG spokesman. He explained that Forstmann received his brain cancer diagnosis last spring and Michael Dolan, president and chief operating officer of IMG, was selected by Forstmann to take over the business in his absence. “We’ll have an announcement over the next several days,” the spokesman said. He said Forstmann and Dolan developed “a very specific growth plan over the next several years.”
For starters, he said, “IMG is not for sale. It is in growth mode, and we have developed three international joint ventures (for sports and TV) in China, India and Brazil, which are expected to provide long-term growth opportunities.” He also noted that IMG College is the fastest growing part of IMG. “We continue to grow IMG’s new business and legacies’ businesses, and get the greatest value for the shareholders,” he said. IMG is expected to achieve $146 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization this year; $170 million next year, and more than $200 million in 2013. “If we hit those numbers, IMG is significantly more valuable in 2013 than it is today,” he said.
Another of Forstmann’s properties, ENK International, the trade show company, was said to be under consideration for the selling block, and sources indicated they know of at least one company that was approached to buy the business. Elyse Kroll, founder and chairman of ENK, said she was unaware of any discussions to sell the trade show business, which, she noted, is profitable and whose shows include Fashion Coterie, Intermezzo, Children’s Club, ENKVegas, Accessorie Circuit and ENKWSA. “We’ve been executing our business plans and continue to do so,” said Kroll.