WATCH: IMG Academy was built from the ground up thanks in part to the efforts of the late Nick Bollettieri.


The famed IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. will soon have a new owner. Front Office Sports reports that a Hong Kong-based private equity group, BPEA EQT, has purchased the property from the American holdings company Endeavor in an all-cash deal valued at $1.25 billion.

Reports swirled last month that UFC owners Endeavor was exploring a sale of IMG Academy, which it purchased in 2014. The news comes just three weeks after UFC announced it will merge with WWE in a game-changing business decision for entertainment and wrestling valued at $21 billion. Endeavor also has stakes in Minor League Baseball and the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) association, and represents artists in film, television, music, theater, digital media, and publishing.

In a press release, the fund said that Nord Anglia Education, a company with 82 schools in 33 countries that it already owns, is a partner in the transaction.

"With Asia being IMG Academy’s largest source of international students, BPEA EQT sees strong potential to support the Company’s expansion across multiple markets in the region, including Singapore, India, Vietnam, Greater China, and Indonesia," the release read.

"BPEA EQT plans to leverage its proven sector expertise within education and track record from having supported its existing portfolio company Nord Anglia Education’s international growth over the past 15 years."

IMG Academy began as the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in 1987, run by its namesake famous, tennis coach, and went on to produce many of the game's top stars including Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles and Maria Sharapova. It was purchased by IMG in 1987. Bollettieri passed away in December at the age of 91.

The facility since grew into a 500-acre campus with multiple sport offerings; it currently houses 1,400 full-time student-athletes on campus, and also works with another 15,000 through its annual sport camps and other services, as per the academy website. New ownership says it hopes to continue this nearly 50-year tradition, and "plans to invest in IMG Academy’s technology and in the continued diversification of its sports offering to broaden the pool of prospective students and attract more female athletes."

"This acquisition brings together a world-class sports education brand and a premier education group, and it further underscores BPEA EQT’s commitment to developing leading school platforms and help them expand across Asia and beyond, for the benefit of students, their parents, and teachers," said Kosmo Kalliarekos, partner and co-head of Education within BPEA EQT’s advisory team.