CAA buys ICM partners in successful agency deal – The Hollywood Reporter
Creative Artists Agency acquires rival ICM Partners in a successful deal that will consolidate the ranks of major Hollywood agencies as the representation industry undergoes business change in the era of the pandemic.
The companies, led by CAA’s Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane and ICM’s Richard Lovett and Chris Silbermann, did not disclose the sale price and said the deal would be closed later this year. Silbermann will join CAA’s board of shareholders.
The merger of the Century City-based companies will leave three large talent companies – WME, CAA and UTA – which account for the bulk of transactions for the industry. The companies’ sales pitch indicates that ICM’s books division can be matched with CAA’s focus on film and television in the performance space, providing a competitive advantage. ICM also advanced in the sports representation space in October, acquiring management company Stellar Group, which has around 800 clients worldwide.
CAA represents Hollywood figures such as Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Scarlett Johansson and Will Smith, among others, while ICM clients include Shonda Rhimes, Michael Keaton, Uma Thurman and Alec Baldwin.
CAA’s acquisition of ICM also comes as private equity firm TPG Capital, which is the majority owner of CAA, explores a public offering. The acquisition of ICM would give CAA additional stature in the representation industry as TPG continues its IPO. (In addition to its stake in CAA, TPG Capital has invested in other companies including Spotify, STX Entertainment, Vice Media, and Cirque du Soleil.)
Assuming TPG follows through on its IPO plans, CAA would become the second major Hollywood agency to have some exposure to public stock markets. WME is owned by entertainment and sports conglomerate Endeavor Group Holdings, which went public in April this year. That being said, CAA would remain a private company even after an IPO of TPG, even if investors in TPG would be exposed to the agency.
Minority shareholders of CAA include Singapore-based investment firm Temasek and the Chinese company CMC Capital Partners. In June, the agency, as part of its deal with members of the Writers Guild of America, sold wiip, the content company it has financially backed and which produced the HBO shows. Easttown mare and Apple TV + Dickinson.
Since March of last year, the entertainment industry has suffered a financial blow amid film and television closures and the cancellation of live events and concerts. All of the major Hollywood agencies suffered significant layoffs during the pandemic. Amid the consolidation and departures of the majors over the past year, new independent companies such as management and brand development company Range Media Partners have been launched.
âOur strong financial position allows us to continue to grow and diversify our business, with service and representation remaining at the heart of what we do and who we are,â CAA’s Lourd, Huvane and Lovett said in revealing the OK.
ICM Executive Silbermann added, âTogether, we will build on our accomplishments and our entrepreneurial spirit, and continue to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to the best interests of our clients, as well as empowering new diverse voices within the industry. “
In response to the announcement of the merger, the performers union SAG-AFTRA issued a note of caution. “We will carefully review this combination of two historic talent agencies to ensure that performers benefit from the deal and are not disadvantaged by it,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, National Executive Director of SAG- AFTRA.