Learfield — the college sports sponsorship giant based in Plano that represents 120 institutions — was acquired by private investment firm Atairos, based in New York City, the two sides announced Saturday morning.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though a price tag for Learfield was expected to be between $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion.
Atairos is independent private investment firm that launched earlier this year with $4 billion in committed capital from Comcast.
Atairos reportedly beat out a trio of other contenders including Fort Worth-based TPG Capital, which, according to the Hollywood Reporter, made an offer of $1.2 billion for Learfield.
“We are well positioned to pursue our robust growth strategy in partnership with Atairos, a long-term investor which brings complementary resources and a close relationship with Comcast-NBCUniversal, which will help us continue to provide innovative solutions for our collegiate and corporate partners,” said Learfield CEO Greg Brown in a prepared statement, who remain on as CEO.
Rhode Island-based Providence Equity was the previous owner of Learfield and acquired a majority stake in the company in September 2013. Terms of the deal were not disclosed then, either, but reports put the price tag at $570 million.
“We have admired Learfield for quite some time and have tremendous confidence in Greg Brown and his leadership team,” said Michael Angelakis, chairman and CEO of Atairos in a prepared statement. “We believe that our sector expertise combined with our long-term investment approach will enable the Company to accelerate its growth initiatives, achieve its strategic goals.”