The number of major Hollywood talent agencies is on track to fall from four to three as Creative Artists Agency reached an agreement to acquire ICM Partners on Monday.
If the deal is approved, it would be the largest agency deal since William Morris and Endeavor, though industry sources anticipate antitrust scrutiny from federal regulators. The companies say a merger would drive more representation as their clients, work, and brands “shape culture.”
CAA says it was the first major talent agency to build a sports business, and the ICM merger would further pad its portfolio.
- In 2019, ICM’s founder, Jonathan Barnett, was named the most powerful sports agent worldwide by Forbes. The same year, it sold a one-third equity stake to Crestview Partners for $150 million.
- In 2020, ICM acquired sports agency Stellar Group, which works with over 800 athletes. At the time, Stellar managed almost $3 billion in contracts.
- Stellar Sports made its first acquisition in July, purchasing Select Sports Group, an agency representing NFL coaches, players, and executives.
- ICM’s TV literary department includes “Ted Lasso” co-creator Bill Lawrence as a client.
The combined company could have exposure to public markets soon, too. TPG Capital, the majority owner of CAA, is reportedly exploring a $10 billion public offering, which would make CAA the second Hollywood agency with public access — Endeavor went public in April.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal is expected to close later this year.