CAA completes acquisition of ICM in landmark deal with talent agency

Century City-based Creative Artists Agency has completed the acquisition of ICM Partners in a landmark deal that has the potential to transform the talent agency industry in Hollywood.

The two companies announced the deal in a statement Thursday and said they would have 3,200 employees in 25 countries.

The takeover was first announced in September but has taken longer than expected to clear regulatory review by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission as the industry experiences a surge in deals.

Although financial terms were not disclosed, the acquisition was valued at $750 million, or a combined value for the two companies, including debt, of $5 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter. the agreement who was not authorized to comment.

The deal reduces the number of leading agencies to three dominant players: CAA, WME and United Talent Agency. ICM is the fourth largest company. The combination of the two companies will give the fledgling entity the clout it needs to better compete with Beverly Hills-based Endeavor (WME’s parent company), which has seen rampant growth and last year staged an initial public offering.

“Today marks a new chapter in our company’s history, positioning us better than ever to provide extraordinary opportunities for many of the world’s most prominent artists, athletes, thought leaders, brands and organizations in the field. entertainment, sports and culture,” CAA Co-Chairs Kevin Huvane, Bryan Lourd and Richard Lovett said in a joint statement.

The pairing, however, will mean significant job losses at ICM.

Of the 425 employees CAA would have hired under the deal, 105 are being cut, the person familiar with the sale said.

CAA’s acquisition of its smaller rival is part of a broader consolidation that is reshaping Hollywood as media companies bolster their movie and TV offerings for streaming platforms. This comes at a time of rapid change in the talent representation industry, where power has shifted from top-tier actors and directors to content creators such as writers and producers.

“There’s this belief that synergy is power and when you control talent, you can make things happen,” said Stephen Galloway, dean of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. “There has been a trend of consolidation in the industry over the past two decades, which frankly is very troubling. None of this is good for individual clients and talent.

CAA will now have access to ICM’s lucrative publishing business and key clients, including “Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes, actor Samuel L. Jackson, director Spike Lee and Ellen DeGeneres. ICM also represents “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan and “The Handmaid’s Tale” creator Bruce Miller.

CAA already represents such prominent talent as showrunner Ryan Murphy, actors Reese Witherspoon and Tom Hanks, and musical artists like Ariana Grande.

“Combining with the best-in-class agency to create an even greater representation company for our clients and colleagues is the primary strategic reason for this move,” ICM’s Chris Silbermann and Ted Chervin said in a joint statement. “We couldn’t be more excited about our future together, and we’re energized by the sophisticated, forward-thinking representation we provide to our clients. »

CAA previously announced that it had acquired full ownership of CAA-GBG Global Brand Management Group, a brand management agency. Earlier this month, Beverly Hills-based United Talent Agency said it had expanded its international presence by acquiring one of the UK’s largest literary and arts companies, Curtis Brown Group.

But the CAA, ICM and other agencies have fallen on hard times over the past two years.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, several agencies laid off workers after productions halted and live events were canceled.

Agencies have also been squeezed by the effects of a losing battle with the Writers Guild of America that forced them to reign in the use of packaging fees and affiliated productions that had helped them diversify their businesses. .

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