World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has joined a new management company just days after putting his snooker playing career on hold.

O'Sullivan, who has been managed by Romford-based Grove Snooker since 2007, announced on 6 November that he would skip the rest of the season and not defend his world title, in order to deal with personal issues.

Merlin Elite today said the 36-year-old Chigwell cueman has joined its roster "for full management".

In a statement, the company said it would be seeking "complementary brand tie-ups and broadcast opportunities" for the four-time Crucible champion.

O'Sullivan is understood to have signed yesterday with Merlin, who also look after former sports stars including Andrew Flintoff, Matt Dawson, Denise Lewis and Jamie Redknapp, steering each to successful media careers.

The news is a firm indication that O'Sullivan is looking at options beyond playing snooker.

Merlin are expected to deal with the media side of O'Sullivan's career, while Grove Snooker handle snooker promotions and existing sponsors.