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UTA and Paradigm to merge?

According to a recent press report, executives at United Talent Agency are in talks to either purchase or merge with Paradigm

By IQ on 08 Jun 2019

Jeremy Zimmer, UTA

UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer

Could UTA and Paradigm be set to merge? According to a story published yesterday by Billboard, the two agency giants have been in talks for months about a potential merger or acquisition of a controlling stake by UTA.

Written by Amplify founder Dave Brooks, the story alleges that UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer has been in talks for several months with Paradigm chairman Sam Gores, and that “the recent IPO of Endeavor, which owns agency WME and is seeking to raise $500 million through a public offering, has accelerated the discussions.”

A deal would play to each company’s strengths in the US – UTA’s in comedy, film and TV, and Paradigm’s in music – although with music the dominant focus for both operations in London, the international impact may be more unsettled.

Both companies have grown their business through strategic acquisition in recent years. UTA increased its foothold in music in 2015 by purchasing The Agency Group, while Paradigm has built a significant music presence by tying up agencies including The Windish Agency, AM Only, Monterey International and Morris Higham Management, and Coda and X-ray Touring in the UK.

UTA’s global head of music is David Zedeck, while Paradigm promoted Marty Diamond to the same role in April. According to Billboard, “decisions about leadership of the music department are still being worked out.”

Competitors CAA and WME have both fuelled growth via private equity investments of late, CAA with TPG Capital, Temasek Holdings & China Media Capital, and WME with Silver Lake Partners, Softbank & GIC amongst others. And with UTA having sold a monitory stake to Investcorp and PSP Investments in August 2018, there is speculation that a merged entity could be set for an IPO and that “a new phase of high-level agency mergers and acquisitions will soon begin.”

The news is likely to surprise many in London, where Coda and X-ray Touring occupy separate offices a half mile either side of UTA’s on Pentonville Road. With the two Paradigm-affiliated agencies still operating independently, integrating with UTA could prove challenging.

IQ has approached both UTA and Paradigm for comment.

Read the full Billboard story here.


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