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The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): During the development of the Millennium Experience project, prior to the establishment of the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC), the Millennium Commission invited companies to tender to provide independent consultancy advice on the achievability of the sponsorship target and to quote their rates for raising sponsorship. IMG was the lowest bidder on both counts. Subsequent negotiations of the detail of the contract for raising sponsorship were conducted from late February 1997 by Millennium Central (the previous name of the NMEC). The key terms of the contract were that any fees paid to IMG
At that stage both the NMEC and the Millennium Experience project were still in development. The sponsorship task; the nature of the offer to potential sponsors; and the overall sponsorship strategy had yet to be finally decided. Subsequent refinements of the task impacted on the nature of the work IMG was required to undertake. At the same time, NEMC's own in-house Commercial Department grew in expertise and strength.
In light of these developments, the NMEC and IMG have over the past few months been considering the terms of their original agreement. The parties have decided to terminate the arrangement by mutual agreement and NMEC has recorded its appreciation for the considerable contribution IMG has made to the project. The legal documentation is currently being concluded. Details of the termination are commercially confidential. However, the fee payable to IMG represents the value of its support for, and assistance with, the NMEC's sponsorship work to date and is significantly less than the potential fee of £9 million which was reported in July 1997.
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