Three became four.
In blockbuster news, two of the big four talent agencies in Hollywood are coming together.
According to Deadline, CAA is acquiring ICM Partners. This will be the biggest merger since William Morris and Endeavor. It will send ripples throughout Hollywood. There are no real details out currently except that this is happening in what appears to be an immediate decision made in secret.
The big four of CAA, WME, UTA, and ICM are now the big three.
The agency released a statement, confirming the report.
“Today’s storytellers, athletes, thought-leaders, and trend-setters who can move, inspire, and attract large, global audiences have unprecedented opportunity and ability to achieve their goals and aspirations,” said CAA’s Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane, and Richard Lovett. “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. 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 representatives also commented.
“We’re thrilled to partner and combine forces with the talented CAA team,” said ICM’s Chris Silbermann. “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.”
The ripple effect will be heavy, from anti-trust lawsuits to reactions from each guild. There will undoubtedly be departures, layoffs, and restructuring. I wonder which clients will stay and which will exit to other agencies. Many people went to the smaller ICM for fear of being lost in the larger CAA system. Now you have a massive lake of talent—how do you stand out in your agent's minds when they now have to serve the biggest and brightest?
Aside from these worries, it will be interesting to see how this changes the industry as a whole. While on paper CAA and ICM seem like they have some redundancies, there's a lot in merging. The idea that these agencies might go public is one of the most important. More assets, more value.
Another is that ICM has a humongous publishing/lit arm, with direct access to intellectual property that all the top clients might want. CAA has a large sports wing that helps ICM bolster what they already have there too.
They expect to close the deal this year, with the new agency debuting in 2022. More to come.
Let us know what you think in the comments.