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CAA acquires ICM Partners to form new agency powerhouse

Deal expected to close later this year.

28 September 2021 Ed Dixon

Getty Images

  • Acquisition almost entirely equity-based, according to Variety
  • Deal marks biggest agency team up since WME acquired IMG for US$2.4bn in 2013

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has reached an agreement to acquire International Creative Management (ICM) Partners in a deal that is set to create a new agency behemoth.

Financial terms of CAA’s deal for sports and entertainment agency ICM have not been disclosed. The purchase is expected to close later this year. Variety reports that the acquisition is almost entirely equity-based.

The two parties said the combination of CAA and ICM will ‘create deeper, broader, and more competitive opportunities for clients in the ever-evolving entertainment, media, and sports landscapes’.

Variety added that upon announcement of the deal industry sources immediately questioned whether the consolidation would draw antitrust scrutiny from federal regulators.

Should the deal go through, it will be the biggest joining forces of two major agencies since WME, along with private equity firm Silver Lake, acquired IMG for US$2.4 billion at the end of 2013.

It would also reduce Hollywood’s ‘big four’ agencies to three, with WME and United Talent Agency (UTA) remaining as CAA’s main rivals.

CAA’s acquisition of ICM also comes as private equity firm TPG Capital, which is CAA’s majority owner, is reportedly mulling a public offering. The Wall Street Journal reported in June that the listing could value TPG at some US$10 billion.

CAA’s sports division has been busy over the best part of two and a half years diversifying its portfolio of clients. This February, it acquired Kauffman Sports Management, a Los Angeles-based full-service basketball talent representation agency. In July last year, CAA Sports bought the London-headquartered Base Soccer Agency, which represents around 300 international soccer players, coaches and managers globally.

ICM, meanwhile, expanded into sport in October 2020 after purchasing London-based soccer representation giant Stellar Group, which currently represents more than 800 athletes across multiple sports. This July, the newly created ICM Stellar Sports expanded its National Football League (NFL) representation business with the acquisition of Select Sports Group (SSG).

“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,” said CAA’s Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane, and Richard Lovett (pictured above).

“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. We’re fortunate to have a partner in ICM who shares our commitment to the widest and most inclusive vision possible for what our clients and company can accomplish together.”

ICM chief executive Chris Silbermann, who will join CAA’s shareholder board, added: “We’re thrilled to partner and combine forces with the talented CAA team. Together, we will build upon our accomplishments and entrepreneurial spirit, and continue to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to the best interests of our clients, as well as empowering new, diverse voices within the industry.”

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