Wasserman has finalized plans to acquire Brillstein Entertainment Partners. The entertainment management and production company run by Cynthia Pett and Jon Liebman will now be under the umbrella of Wasserman’s sports marketing and talent management.
The current Wasserman clients, including but not limited to athletes and musicians, will now be able to potentially more closely participate in films, shows or related content created by Brillstein and using the IP already existing within Brillstein. The pitch to current and future clients is an exchange of services and ideas across marketing, representation, content creation and talent management arms all under one proverbial roof.
“Cynthia [Pett] and I will continue to be co-CEOS and will continue to run our production company/talent management company,” co-CEO Jon Leibman told TheWrap. “We will retain our identity.”
Concurrently, Wasserman Chairman and CEO Casey Wasserman told TheWrap, “Every company we acquire we operate as a single company with a shared perspective and shared goal.” He emphasized that Wasserman does not intend to tell Brillstein how to operate: “We’re not going to wake up one morning and tell them how to manage clients.”
Brillstein’s leadership, including Pett, Liebman, Marc Gurvitz and all the Brillstein partners (Sandy Wernick, George Freeman, Missy Malkin, David McIlvain, Alex Murray, Andrea Pett and Tim Sarkes) will continue to lead Brillstein while joining Wasserman’s executive leadership team. Brillstein’s over 30 managers, across all departments in both its Los Angeles and New York offices, will continue with Brillstein as the company — founded in 1969 by Bernie Brillstein — joins Wasserman.
“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Cynthia, Jon, Sandy, Marc and the entire Brillstein family and roster to our fold. They join our company as we continue to expand the breadth and depth of our capabilities to serve clients globally in unique and innovative ways,” said Wasserman. “While we welcome this storied management and production company to Wasserman, I am also appreciative of our heritage and shared values. Personally, I hope this would make Bernie proud.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, Wasserman told TheWrap that he viewed the newly acquired company “not as a financial partner but rather as a strategic one.”
“All of us at Brillstein are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Wasserman and to tap into their extensive resources on behalf of our management clients. We share the same vision, which is to serve all of our clients—in talent, lit, comedy, digital and gaming— in an increasingly complex ecosystem. We can’t wait to get started,” said Liebman and Pett.
Brillstein has been in the management production business for over 45 years. They have represented some of the industry’s most successful actors, writers, comedians, directors, authors and producers. The company has also produced countless films, television shows, documentaries and podcasts. They have recently made inroads in recent years in providing representation for digital creators, podcasters, gamers and related online personalities. They recently launched Brillstein Creative Partners (BCP), led by Allie Goss, as a standalone TV development and production subsidiary.
“We bring music and sports clients – the best in the world – to be able to create, sell and distribute their content,” said Wasserman.
“We get the independence that we have and the ability to be part of a large platform that has a great deal of resources and know-how outside of the entertainment industry,” added Liebman.
Artémis procured a majority stake in CAA just weeks ago, making this new deal part of a potential trend.
The addition of Brillstein furthers the notion of companies pitching themselves as one-stop-shop destinations. Likewise, Sally Singer recently joined WME from Amazon as their new president of Art + Commerce under WME Fashion. Entertainment companies are getting some generous partners. Concurrently, companies not necessarily associated with showbiz are now wanting a bit of that glow.
Despite the discourse about the decline of entertainment as a cultural focal point, it’s still where everyone wants to be.
Wasserman expressed no concern about getting more explicitly into the entertainment production business amid uncertain times. “The only thing that’s changing is how the content is consumed, distributed or monetized. The content and those who make it are still of value.”
Sullivan & Cromwell represented Wasserman, and Moelis and Willkie Farr represented Brillstein in the transaction.