Global media group Vivendi-Universal has pulled out of a due diligence probe into ISMM Group, the sports marketing business owned by world soccer governing body FIFA, leaving it teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.

ISMM is the parent of ISL, former holder of the global marketing and broadcasting rights for the 2002 and 2006 soccer World Cup tournaments [WAMN: 02-May-01]. FIFA has now retrieved the marketing franchises and is touting them direct, while the broadcast rights are on offer to Germany’s Kirch Gruppe.

ISMM’s financial travails are attributed to the crippling $1.2 billion fee it paid for the media rights to the ATP men's tennis tour. Time is now running out for the beleaguered marketer, the Cantonal court in Zug, Switzerland, having granted it a stay of bankruptcy only until the end of May.

News source: CampaignLive (UK)