Hollywood agency CAA acquiring rival ICM to create movie powerhouse

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Creative Artists Agency said it would acquire the rival talent group ICM, combining two powerful stables of agents amid sweeping changes in Hollywood and the global sports industry.

The deal, which is expected to close by the end of the year, comes after talent agencies were forced to dismiss workers due to the pandemic-related suspensions of live events and costly delays in filmed productions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

It would be the first big merger of talent groups since the William Morris Agency combined with Endeavor in 2009. Endeavor, led by Hollywood impresario Ari Emanuel, was backed by the private equity group Silver Lake for a decade and went public in April. It has a market capitalisation of $12.5bn.

The deal will bring CAA’s clients — which include Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg — under the same roof as ICM’s Al Pacino, Susan Sarandon and Jodie Foster.

The private equity firm TPG invested in CAA in 2010, taking a majority stake four years later in a transaction that valued the talent agency at more than $1bn.

The deal came as financial investors sought ways of profiting from content rights that soared in value as music and video streaming created new ways of monetising artists’ back catalogues and triggered a boom in television production.

CAA, based in Los Angeles, has strengths in film, TV, music and sports. Besides its core areas of film, television and theatre, ICM has a strong books division. ICM last year acquired London-based ICM Stellar Sports, which has more than 800 clients around the world. Both groups boast of their strength in emerging areas such as podcasting.

“The strategic combination of CAA and ICM bolsters our collective resources, expertise and relationships to deliver even more opportunities for our world-class clients to build their careers and their brands across multiple disciplines and platforms in an evolving marketplace,” CAA said.

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