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Report: Learfield, IMG Sports to merge

Marketing and multimedia giants Learfield Sports and IMG Sports are planning to merge, according to a report from Michael Smith and John Ourand of Sports Business Journal.

SBJ reports that the venture will be a 50-50 split between the two companies and be run by Learfield president and CEO Greg Brown.

With the two giants in the industry merging together, 200 athletics departments will now be under the same umbrella, the multimedia equivalent of ESPN and Fox Sports merging together to share college sports television rights.

From the SBJ:

Until now, a brand that wanted a truly national college sponsorship had to execute multiple contracts across different agencies because rights were splintered among six major rights holders, Learfield and IMG College being the two largest. Merging the two businesses will create the closest thing to a one-stop shop the college space has ever seen and, theoretically, make the unified company a much more effective sales engine for college sports. 

The merger works for both companies because they presently share a "significant overlap" of clients, and untangling those contracts could result in cost savings for both sides. Analysts say Learfield-IMG will be worth more than $2.5 billion, according to Forbes.