Creative Artists Agency announced Monday that it was buying its smaller rival ICM Partners for an undisclosed amount, the largest industry consolidation in more than a decade and one that could have significant ripple effects in the entertainment and sports worlds.
The acquisition adds muscle to an already heavyweight Creative Artists at a time when talent representatives are sparring with studios over compensation in the streaming age. If studios are no longer trying to maximize the box office for each film but instead shifting to a hybrid model in which success is judged partly by ticket sales and partly by the number of streaming subscriptions sold, what does that mean for how stars are paid — and where they make their movies?
CAA boasts a client roster that includes Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Zendaya, Reese Witherspoon and Scarlett Johansson, while ICM counts Shonda Rhimes, Samuel L. Jackson and Pete Davidson among its marquee names. The deal marks the largest consolidation in the agency world since the William Morris Agency merged with Endeavor in 2009 and reflects a recommitment to the representation business after the talent agencies lost their dispute with the Writers Guild of America over packaging deals earlier this year.
CAA is also the top sports agency, representing close to 1,000 top athletes, including Paul George, Drew Brees and Chris Paul. ICM bolstered its sports business in the past year with the purchase of Select Sports Group, which represents National Football League figures like Kyler Murray and Colin Kaepernick; and the Stellar Group, which manages some 800 clients from the world of soccer.
The deal to buy ICM, according to CAA, will “drive broader and more inclusive representation” for its clients.
“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,” top CAA executives Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane and Richard Lovett said in a statement.
ICM Partners’ chief executive, Chris Silbermann, will join the CAA board upon completion of the deal, which the agencies said they expected before the end of the year.