No M&A for UTA? Why the Agency May Buck Hollywood’s Consolidation Wave

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“Now it’s the Big Two-and-a-Half. What does a half do to be full-sized?” one insider asks after CAA and ICM’s merger plans

Since CAA’s surprise deal to acquire ICM Partners last week, speculation about the next most obvious potential mega-agency consolidation — Endeavor absorbing United Talent Agency — has been swirling among entertainment industry insiders.

The buzz grew louder when Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said at Vox Media’s Code Conference that the parent company of WME agency had no reason to consider acquiring UTA. Emanuel boasted that the representation side of Endeavor has been “growing double digits year-over-year” and is “the core feeder of our business,” and that his newly public company doesn’t need to acquire another agency.

However, insiders with knowledge of both CAA and ICM said that the statement — what another insider called typical of the “Ari Emanuel swagger” — is disingenuous considering the rocky post-pandemic state of Endeavor’s finances.