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UTA bulks up with private equity investment to compete in bigness

uta-investment-private-equity-eqt-partners-thefutureparty
Illustration by Kate Walker

UTA bulks up with private equity investment to compete in bigness

 

The Future. UTA’s new funding infusion from private equity firm EQT Partners will give the agency the fuel to scale in an effort to compete with CAA and WME. These growth moves by the Big 3 show that the agency world feels the need to compete in size with the tech giants taking over the actual production of film and TV… and how the battle to nab a limited amount of A-List talent (and all the influence they hold across multiple industries) will decide who wins (and gets rich) from the streaming wars.

Scale is our top client
UTA’s going to need a bigger piggy bank.

  • Earlier this week, UTA secured an undisclosed but substantial investment from Swedish PE firm EQT Partners.
  • The investment makes EQT the largest shareholder in UTA… but leadership at the agency will stay as is.
  • The valuation of UTA is also under lock and key, but the cash infusion is expected to supercharge the agency’s growth through various acquisitions in “talent, innovation and international expansion.”

UTA is already on an acquisition kick, recently scooping up UK agency The Curtis Brown Group, strategic advisory firm MediaLink, and data and analytics company MediaHound.

Hollywood’s Godzilla vs. Kong
According to THR’s Alex Weprin, those acquisitions are good indicators of where UTA is headed — a push to sign international talent (all streamers are betting on local language productions to drive growth), an expansion into branding and marketing (because ad markets are booming), and strengthening its IQ division (winning the digital revolution is all about capturing and understanding data).

But, most importantly, the investment gives UTA more leverage in keeping existing (and signing more) A-list talent, who may have been peeking at the larger pastures of WME (now a publicly traded company) and CAA (which recently swallowed ICM) — both of which have grown exponentially because of PE investments.

The Big 3 are only getting bigger.

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