Swiss-headquartered sports marketing giant ISL Worldwide, holder of some of the TV rights to the next two soccer World Cups, has embarked on a race to find an equity partner within three months to stave off bankruptcy.

ISL’s parent ISMM has successfully applied to a Swiss cantonal court for a three-month delay in bankruptcy proceedings – incurred under Swiss law as soon as a company’s debts outweigh its assets.

The current favourite to ride to ISL’s rescue is media giant Vivendi Universal. German media group Kirch Gruppe, a fellow World Cup rights-holder, has already ruled itself out of any deal with the ailing firm, as has Interpublic-owned rival Octagon Worldwide.

ISL blamed its troubles on over-expansion, adding that it will henceforth concentrate on soccer and athletics. The jewel in the company’s crown is sponsor rights in Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa to the 2002 and 2006 World Cup tournaments.

News source: Advertising Age - International Daily