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CAA

CAA takes ICM off the table

CAA
Courtesy of CAA

CAA takes ICM off the table

 

The Future. Creative Artists Agency (CAA) is acquiring ICM Partners in the biggest talent representation merger since Endeavor-WMA in 2009, positioning itself as the biggest representation-first firm in Hollywood. But with agencies scaling to compete with content buyers, the average creator may worry that both the companies that represent them, and the ones that hire them, will only focus on its biggest stars.

Top ten percenters
The Big Four Hollywood agencies (WME, CAA, UTA, ICM) will soon be the Big Three.

  • CAA is acquiring ICM for an undisclosed amount, making it the biggest entertainment agency.
  • The new entity will be… drum roll… CAA.
  • The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.

CAA — which is already a powerhouse in film and TV creative representation — will not only inherit ICM’s talent roster, but also its reputable books division and a bevy of athletic talent (thanks to ICM’s recent acquisition of sports agency Stellar Group).

Representation matters
In speaking with Deadline about the deal, CAA’s Bryan Lourd said “What this deal does is make it super clear […] our whole strategy is about representation, and about being aggressive advocates for artists.”

That’s quite a different approach than Endeavor (owner of WME) , which has expanded into UFC, bull-riding, and modeling in order to diversify its business before going public earlier this year. Ironically enough, CAA majority-owner TPG is also preparing to go public.

It’s no surprise that the deal is also a byproduct of a rapidly changing Hollywood. The rise of streaming as the be-all, end-all strategy of distribution, corporate consolidation, and the end of the lucrative TV packaging business is changing how artists (and their representatives) get paid.