CAA closes acquisition of rival ICM Partners in $750m deal (report)

Photo Credit: Giorgio Trovato

Los Angeles-headquartered talent giant Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has officially acquired its rival, ICM Partners.

The deal, first announced by the companies in September, was expected to close at the end of 2021, but has now been finalized after being examined by the Department of Justice.

The deal is reported by The Hollywood Reporter and Variety  to be valued at $750 million with “a pro-forma” enterprise value of $5 billion for the combined firm.

Post acquisition, the combined company’s global staff count will be around 3,200, with The Hollywood Reporter noting further that, 425 ICM employees are set to join CAA, with 105 lay-offs expected.

ICM brings to CAA a global roster of artists in film, television, music, comedy, theater, games, politics, and podcasting. The agency also operates a books division.

In addition, ICM’s London-based ICM Stellar Sports serves more than 800 clients worldwide.

ICM’s music roster includes stars like Nicki Minaj, Madison Beer, Little Simz, J.Cole, Khalid and others.

Founded in 1975, CAA is headquartered in Los Angeles, and has a significant presence in New York, Nashville, London, Beijing, and Shanghai, as well as offices in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Geneva, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Memphis, Miami, Munich, Orlando, Stockholm, and Toronto, among other locations globally.

Originally founded in 1975 as International Creative Management, then rebranded as ICM Partners in 2012, ICM has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC, and London, and strategic partnerships in Europe and Asia.

The talent agency space has seen a significant amount of consolidation in recent years.

In 2014, WME (alongside private equity firm Silver Lake Partners) bought sports and fashion talent management agency IMG for $2.3 billion.

The talent booking giant that emerged from that merger, WME-IMG, then made a number of further acquisitions such as Miss Universe and Ultimate Fighting Championship (bought for $4bn).

In 2017, WME-IMG rebranded as Endeavor, which is now publicly traded after listing on the New York Stock Exchange in April 2021.

In September 2017, CAA announced that Temasek had acquired a minority stake in its business.

ICM acquired London-based music agency Primary Talent International in March 2020.

Elsewhere, one of CAA’s other biggest rivals, UTA, acquired UK literature and talent agency Curtis Brown earlier this month.

In April, meanwhile, US-based sports and entertainment talent agency Wasserman completed the acquisition, of Paradigm Talent Agency’s North American live music representation business, to launch a new division called Wasserman Music.

“Today marks a new chapter in the history of our company.”

Kevin Huvane, Bryan Lourd and Richard Lovett, CAA

A joint statement from CAA co-chairmen Kevin Huvane, Bryan Lourd and Richard Lovett, said: “Today marks a new chapter in the history of our company, positioning us better than ever to deliver extraordinary opportunities for many of the world’s preeminent artists, athletes, thought leaders, brands, and organisations in entertainment, sports, and culture.

Added Kevin Huvane, Bryan Lourd and Richard Lovett: “We are thrilled to welcome our new ICM colleagues to CAA, and look forward to combining their expertise, relationships, and resources with those of our agents and executives around the world.

“Our diverse range of clients who entertain and inspire large global audiences have never been in more demand, nor have their opportunities been greater. With today’s addition of our new colleagues, the scope of possibilities for helping clients achieve their goals is limitless.”

“This is the ideal next step for our companies.”

Chris Silbermann and Ted Chervin, ICM

ICM’s Chris Silbermann and Ted Chervin, said:  “Combining with the best-in-class agency to build an even greater representation company for our clients and our colleagues is the core strategic reason for this move.

“We couldn’t be more enthusiastic about our future together, and are energised by the sophisticated, forward-thinking representation we offer clients. This is the ideal next step for our companies.”Music Business Worldwide

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