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CAA Buys ICM: Two of Hollywood’s Biggest Talent Firms Attempt To Merge

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Major talent agencies Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and ICM Partners (ICM) are attempting to merge. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the representation business suffered major financial losses due to major hits to film, television, theater, and live concerts and events. With talent out of work, CAA, ICM, and other major agencies like William Morris Endeavor (WME) underwent massive layoffs. Several talent agencies signed TikTokers in 2020, one of the few types of content creators mostly unaffected by the pandemic. With the reopening of theaters and resuming of most live events, talent agencies seek to adapt to a changing industry.

CAA is host to several major names in entertainment like Steven Spielberg, Brad Pitt, and Scarlett Johansson, as is ICM with clients including Shonda Rhimes, Michael Keaton, and Samuel L. Jackson, among others. Outside of film and television, several writers, athletes, musicians, and comedians are also repped by the agencies. Along with WME and United Talent Agency (UTA), these four make up the largest talent agencies in Hollywood. 

RELATED: Netflix Movie Announcements Explained: Biggest Trailers, Images & Reveals

CAA has bought ICM and will be merging with the rival agency in a deal that finalizes later this year, THR reports. Company heads Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane, Richard Lovett of CAA, and ICM’s Chris Silbermann did not disclose a sale price. The merger leaves only WME and UTA as opposing agencies. This, again, comes following pandemic financial losses as agencies try to recover, especially amongst new independent competition such as management and brand development company, Range Media Partners. Read the statement about the deal from Lourd, Huvane, and Lovett below:

“Our strong financial position enables us to continue to expand and diversify our businesses, with service and representation remaining central to what we do and who we are."

CAA’s majority owner, TPG Capital, has announced plans to offer public equity. If TPG follows through on that, CAA would join WME as the second major Hollywood agency with public equity exposure following WME’s parent company, Endeavor Holdings, going public this past April. CAA, however, would remain private, and investors would only be exposed through TPG. The performing union, SAG-AFTRA, is wary of the merger. SAG-AFTRA national executive director, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, warned of potential disadvantages to performers instead of benefits and noted their “careful scrutinization” of the deal. 

The combination of CAA’s sports representation and ICM’s ventures into books will prove to add fiercely to their competitive edge. The power struggles between talent, talent unions, big-budget studios, and agencies have been complicated even further by the pandemic forcefully changing the entertainment industry. The dominating success of streaming platforms previously thought to be financial experiments is changing the entertainment landscape and causing contracts to be renegotiated. In due time, a massive merger such as this is sure to have a similar effect on the operations of the talent agency business. 

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The last post in this topic was made more than 14 days ago. Only post in this topic if you have something valuable to add. Irrelevant posts are not allowed and you will be warned/banned for spamming old topics.

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