Spire Exits Professional Bull Riders
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Spire Exits Professional Bull Riders

pbr nf1Lower middle-market focused Spire Capital has sold its portfolio company Professional Bull Riders to WME|IMG, a sports, fashion and media company.

Professional Bull Riders (PBR) operates major and minor league bull riding tours with the top domestic professional level events held as part of the Built Ford Tough Series. PBR produces more than 300 bull riding events globally each year that are attended by over 3 million people. PBR was founded in 1992 by 21 professional bull riders who each contributed $1000.  Spire Capital acquired its majority interest in the company in 2007.  The company is led by Chairman and CEO Jim Haworth and is headquartered in Pueblo, CO (www.pbr.com).

pbr nf6“The team at Spire Capital was an integral part of our success. They were very knowledgeable about the sports industry and helped us with sponsorships, event venues, as well as our television contract,” said Mr. Haworth. “Going forward, the acquisition by WME|IMG will allow our organization to continue its expansion worldwide, and bring our top-quality events to the masses.”

IMG, originally known as the International Management Group, is a global sports and media business headquartered in New York (www.img.com). In 2014, IMG was acquired by WME, an entertainment and media company and a portfolio company of Silver Lake Management. WME is also headquartered in New York (www.wmeentertainment.com).

“We’ve worked closely with the PBR for the last several years and share their passion for expanding the sport of bull riding globally,” said Ari Emanuel, Co-CEO of WME|IMG.  “The resources of WME|IMG make the partnership a perfect match, combining top quality event production and broadcast rights.”

Rick Patterson nf1“Our many passionate and dedicated partners in this amazing sport helped us have a great eight year ride. WME|IMG’s leadership will have all of us cheering for the PBR for years to come,” said Rick Patterson, Partner at Spire Capital.

Spire Capital Partners invests from $15 million to $40 million in companies with revenues of at least $10 million and EBITDAs of $5 million. Sectors of interest include business services, information services, education, media and communications. The firm is headquartered in New York with an additional office in West Conshohocken, PA (www.spirecapital.com).

Evercore (www.evercore.com) was the exclusive financial advisor to PBR and Spire Capital.  WME|IMG was advised by The Raine Group (www.raine.com).

2015 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 5-19-15

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