Creative artists deal for ICM set to reshape Hollywood’s talent sector

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SAG-AFTRA, the powerful union of actors, said in a statement that it welcomes “any change that translates into increased bargaining power for talent as they negotiate individual deals with multi-billion companies. dollars that produce content “.

He added: “We will carefully review this combination of two talent agencies to ensure that artists will benefit from the deal and not be disadvantaged by it.”

The deal is the largest in the industry since the William Morris agency merged with Endeavor in 2009, essentially turning Hollywood into a two-agency city. (The United Talent Agency mini-major is the second largest behind Endeavor and CAA. ICM was behind UTA, having atrophied since its heyday in the 1990s, when representing Julia Roberts – a long-time CAA client.) In the years that followed, the large agencies expanded into new lines of business involving finance, podcasting, sports, and even content production in order to keep growing, to offset the decline of companies like sitcom syndication and maintain a grip on the forms of entertainment that are still taking shape.

Endeavor debuted on the stock market in April; he announced on Monday afternoon a $ 1.2 billion deal to buy sports betting company OpenBet from Scientific Games. Even without the assets of the ICM, the CAA has also established itself as a premier sports agency, representing more than 2,000 athletes, including Dwyane Wade, Aaron Rodgers, Chris Paul and Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, CAA and Endeavor recently suffered a setback in the fast growing content production industry. By negotiating a new deal with the agencies, the Writers Guild of America was able to force CAA, Endeavor, and other agencies to cap their ownership in content production divisions at 20%. In July, CAA sold most of its new Wiip content studio to South Korea-based JTBC studios.

Mr. Lourd insisted that the forced divestiture played no role in CAA’s decision to buy ICM. He also poured cold water on one of Hollywood’s immediate assumptions about the ICM deal – that the CAA was gearing up for its own public offering.

“Does that make it more possible?” Of course, ”said Mr. Lourd. “But going public – or not – didn’t motivate any of this.”


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