ICM Partners Makes Big Move Into Sports With Stellar Group Acquisition

    • The world’s leading soccer agency is merging with one of the biggest talent agencies.
    • In 2019, Forbes named Stellar founder Jonathan Barnett the most powerful sports agent worldwide.

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ICM Partners, one of Hollywood’s most prominent talent agencies, has acquired sports agency Stellar Group, and formed a new division — ICM Stellar Sports.

Stellar is the world’s largest soccer agency, and represents over 800 total athletes with contracts totaling around $3 billion, like Gareth Bale and Jameis Winston. In 2019, Forbes named founder Jonathan Barnett the most powerful sports agent in the world, surpassing baseball super-agent Scott Boras. 

ICM reps top entertainers including Beyoncé, Samuel L Jackson, Jerry Seinfeld and many more, as well as content creators Spike Lee, Shonda Rhimes and Vince Gilligan. ICM acquired London-based music agency Primary Talent International in March, as well as Stockholm-based lit agency Albatros in September. 

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but in a prospectus obtained by The New York Times in 2017, Barnett said he’d consider offers over 100 million pounds — about $129 million today. 

“There’s nothing there at the moment,” Barnett said at the time. “If someone offers a ridiculous amount, they’ll be getting the best football agency in the world.”

Barnett and Davis Manasseh founded the Stellar Group — which is headquartered in London and has over 130 employees through offices worldwide — in 1992.

“With connectivity speeding the process, the sports, entertainment, music, media and publishing worlds have converged. Clients have greater opportunities than ever before to be multi-dimensional, multi-media brands. Aligning our wonderful and talented entertainment clients with Stellar’s premiere athletes is a powerful combination,” ICM CEO Chris Silbermann said in a release on Oct. 8. 

Barnett, whose top client is Bale, and Manasseh have both signed long-term contracts with ICM and will become executive chairmen of ICM Stellar Sports. ICM Partners Managing Director Ted Chervin will also become chairman of the new division, and Jonathan Perelman — who previously oversaw CM’s Digital Department and Speakers Bureau — will become president. Longtime agent Joshua Barnett will become managing director of the division. 

“In Chris Silbermann and ICM Partners we have found the ideal partner to help our clients further their earning potential in an ever flattening world where athletes are brands with global appeal across numerous off the field revenue streams, which ICM will help us cultivate and exploit,” Barnett said. “They share our enthusiasm to enrich our client’s opportunities as well as expand our North American representation business which is very exciting for us.”