The William Morris-Endeavor merger, producing the new company named WME Entertainment, will be announced on Monday, according to an individual close to the situation.
The William Morris board met on Tuesday afternoon this week to consider the merger; by Friday night the deal was done.
The merger of the two talent agencies will create a new force in Hollywood at a time of uncertainty and rapid transformation in the entertainment industry. The successful conclusion of the deal represents a significant achievement on the part of William Morris leaders Jim Wiatt and Dave Wirtschafter, and Endeavor head Ari Emanuel.
The creation of an agency with the combined forces of the two agencies – which together number some 375 agents — also represents a serious challenge to the reigning king of the industry’s talent court, Creative Artists Agency, and its several hundred agents.
And Hollywood must be poised for a pitched scramble over clients, and a period of disarray when it comes to talent representation.
The hardest part of the merger, of course, still lies ahead. William Morris and Endeavor – who negotiated for weeks over details including how to maintain the names of both agencies — will require the reconciling of two vastly different corporate cultures, that of a distinguished and slower-paced house with primacy in books and music and a rich share of real estate and legacy television, and that of an aggressive young agency with a stable of younger stars including Sacha Baron Cohen.