Sam Gores Goes It Alone – Why That UTA-Paradigm Deal Fell Apart

Price wasn’t the issue. Timing wasn’t the issue. The WGA dispute wasn’t the issue. Culture wasn’t the issue.

That merger that was about to happen between talent agencies UTA and Paradigm blew up like a summer sandstorm and just as quickly went away.

Why that happened tells you as much about how outside capital is changing the entertainment industry as it does about these individual players. That capital is putting pressure on even thriving companies to get bigger.

Sam Gores decided to resist that.

I spoke to both sides in this negotiation, and from a high-level look, the deal made sense. United Talent Agency is the third largest talent agency after supersize WME-Endeavor and CAA, and it has wisely focused on servicing movie and television talent as its larger competitors have gone into more corporate and branding directions, or into other businesses entirely like Endeavor’s purchase of the martial arts business UFC.

By contrast, Paradigm has kept close to its successful music business, building deep roots with music talent while expanding into movies and television. As the founder and CEO, Gores controls the company entirely — another major anomaly in the space. Combining the two entities would be a growth move for UTA and seemingly a bulwark in turbulent business times. Everyone in Hollywood…

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Sharon Waxman

Sharon Waxman, CEO and Editor in Chief, is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, a former Hollywood correspondent for The New York Times and a leading authority on the entertainment business and media. Before the Times, she was a correspondent for eight years for The Washington Post. She started out as a foreign correspondent, covering Europe and the Middle East for a decade. She is the founder and CEO of The Wrap, and the author of two books, including, “Rebels on the Backlot: Six Maverick Directors and How They Conquered the Hollywood Studio System.” She can be reached at sharon@thewrap.com.