Entertainment Agency IMG Buys Blockbuster Exhibition Company Behind ‘King Tut’

The agency, which bought a stake in Frieze in 2016, is further bolstering its art business with the purchase of Exhibitions International.

Egyptian Sarcophagus at "Mummies of the World" at Union Station, Kansas City. Photo: Mummies of the World.

Endeavor, parent company of Hollywood talent agency WME, and sports, events, entertainment, and fashion company IMG is delving deeper into the art industry. After several months of discussions, it’s subsidiary IMG has acquired Exhibitions International, a global museum exhibition producer, it announced today. The acquisition follows Endeavor’s purchase of a stake in the Frieze art fairs in 2016.

Exhibitions International specializes in pulling off blockbuster shows ranging from “Pompeii: The Exhibition” to “Mummies of the World.” The company helps institutions outsource the production of high-budget, crowd-pleasing shows and handles the logistics and bureaucratic hurdles associated with them.

Most recently, the firm partnered with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities to produce “King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh,” a 10-city international tour of artifacts marking the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. The show opens at the California Science Center in Los Angeles in March.

The company has also produced international tours dedicated to Princess Diana’s wedding gown, items from Cleopatra’s Royal Palace, and “the only authenticated pirate treasure in the world,” according to IMG. An estimated 30 million people have visited shows put together by Exhibitions International.

The company’s founder, John Norman, has collaborated with IMG before. In 2011, he teamed up with Stephen Flint Wood, the managing director of arts & entertainment events at the agency, to stage a King Tut exhibition in Australia. “I quickly realized why John was regarded as the best in the business,” Wood said in a statement. “We have known for a long time that Exhibitions International is the leader in this space.”

Moving forward, Norman will become managing director of IMG’s exhibitions business; his team will join him at the company. Norman “will have the full support and resources of the global IMG network, and we in turn have a new opportunity to expand our world-class events offering,” Wood said. (IMG is a division of the entertainment conglomerate Endeavor, which was renamed late last year.)

The new business will operate within IMG’s existing arts and entertainment sector under the events division. Flint Wood told artnet News in an email that the company is “perfectly positioned to expand” the exhibitions branch of their entertainment business and to “create exciting, new exhibitions to tour the world.”

“My team and I look forward to being part of this dynamic company and growing the exhibitions business to new levels,” Norman added in a statement.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.