Almost nine months to the day after Deadline’s surprise scoop that CAA would acquire ICM Partners, the deal has finally received government approval and closed. This creates a mega agency in the biggest bond in the space since the WMA-Endeavor merger. Sources close to the situation said the Justice Department finally approved the deal late last night or this morning, and it was done. It is valued at around $750 million and a combined enterprise value of around $5 billion. Management of the merged company is expected to address staff at a town hall on Thursday, with the newly combined departments set to begin their integration process with meetings on July 11, we learned.
First, however, comes the pain.
Approximately 105 positions will be cut, all from ICM and from all areas. There will be 425 ICM agents and staff from the agency joining the CAA, meaning that approximately 80% will be retained by the CAA. These conversations will happen quickly. Two dozen agents and other staff who have left in recent months after the regulatory approval process dragged on, delaying the deal by about six months from the time originally planned by the CAA and CIM. The bloodshed will be accelerated and everyone will soon know where they stand, if they don’t already know. We’ve heard that much of the value of the star inbound agent deal will come in stock, though investor ICM Crestview will get the bulk of the roughly $200 million in cash that CAA and TPG have invested. to enter into this agreement. This stock will be valuable if CAA and its majority owner TPG finally take the company public.
As Deadline reported earlier this month, the ICM agents the combined company wants to retain recently received formal invitations and non-negotiable cash and stock offers, which weren’t well received. .
Recent departures include Daniel Cohan, Michael Kagan, Chris Von Goetz, Katie Cates, Andrew Rogers, Brittany Perlmuter, Joanne Wiles, Kyle Jaeger, James Robins Early, Jessica Lacy, Carol Goll and Chris Smith. They join a number of agents who have departed over the past eight months, including Jeff Barry, Dan Baime, John Burnham, Josh Rahm, Matt Sorger, April King, Ariel Meislin, Adam Ginivisian, Nathalie Didier, Christina Bazdekis, Denise Draper, JR Ringer, Kevin Hussey, Zach Carlisle, Brett Passis, Seth Lawrence and Will Kircher. Several departments at ICM were heavily impacted, sources said, including branding, post-production and alternative. Longtime CIM spokesman Brad Turell will also be among those leaving.
Those who left before being pushed did so to retain customers, which would have been compromised had they waited for severance pay. The nine months gave many who weren’t going to make the cut time to plan their next move, and ICM let people terminate their contracts, we’re told.
Rumor has it that more people are being fired today.
ICM CEO Chris Silbermann is expected to join CAA co-chairs Kevin Huvane, Bryan Lourd and Richard Lovett and TPG representatives on the CAA board. It’s unclear who from ICM would be included on the operational board, but rising stars such as talent head Lorrie Bartlett have been mooted as possibilities.
“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,” said Huvane. , Heavy and Lovett. “We are delighted to welcome our new ICM colleagues to the CAA and look forward to combining their expertise, relationships and resources with those of our agents and leaders around the world. Our diverse range of clients who entertain and inspire large global audiences have never been more in demand, and their opportunities have never been greater. With the arrival of our new colleagues today, the scope of possibilities to help clients achieve their goals is limitless.
ICM’s main strengths are its books and sports divisions, along with some big name showrunners such as Shonda Rhimes, Vince Gilligan and Bill Lawrence.
This ends decades of collisions between the two agencies that date back to when Michael Ovitz and Ron Meyer ran CAA and Jeff Berg and Jim Wiatt ran ICM. They fought for big clients, and Berg challenged Ovitz when the latter began negotiating huge studio sales, including when Matsushita acquired MCA/Universal, the MGM/UA bailout, and when Sony Corp bought Columbia Pictures. . They went after each other for clients and agents, but CAA eventually pulled out and its main rival became WME, the merger of WMA and Endeavour. ICM had agent legends like Sam Cohn in New York, and Ed Limato, who moved to WME with clients including Denzel Washington and Berg over the years, had clients including James Cameron and James L. Brooks. When Berg and Rizvi Traverse parted ways years later from ICM, they took on many of the more lucrative packages that dampened the agency.
Mergers and acquisitions have always played an important role within ICM, created in 1975 by the merger of Creative Management Associates and International Famous Agency. ICM’s 2006 acquisition of boutique literary agency Broder Webb Chervin Silbermann brought the agency’s current management, CEO Chris Silbermann and Managing Director Ted Chervin, along with the bulk of the television lighting department from ICM Partners whose client list includes top showrunners Shonda Rhimes, Ted Lasso’s Bill Lawrence, Vince Gilligan from Breaking Bad, David Shore from The Good Doctor and Bruce Miller from The Handmaid’s Tale.
Following the December 2019 sale of a one-third stake to Crestview Partners for $150 million to fund international growth, ICM Partners embarked on a wave of acquisitions that raised its stature in sports representation. to complement its strength in television lighting and publishing. Starting with the acquisition of music-focused London-based Primary Talent International in March 2020 and taking a significant minority stake in Stockholm, Sweden-based boutique lighting agency Albatros, in August 2020, ICM Partners completed its largest acquisition last October with London. Stellar Group, the powerful New York-based football and sports agency representing over 800 athletes, to create ICM Stellar Sports. Last July, the new sports division made its first acquisition with the purchase of Select Sports Group, an independent agency that represents NFL coaches, players and executives.
“Partnering 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. We couldn’t be more excited about our future together and are energized by the sophisticated, forward-thinking representation we provide to our clients. This is the perfect next step for our businesses,” said ICM’s Chris Silbermann and Ted Chervin.
The combined agencies leave CAA with more than 3,200 total employees operating in 25 countries around the world. CAA announced in January that it had signed a long-term lease agreement to move its headquarters to Century City Center at 1950 Avenue of the Stars in 2026. It will become an anchor tenant in a new 37-story retail tower, which will is within blocks of the CAA and CIM headquarters and will house the combined agency.
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