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Paradigm confirms Wasserman acquisition in North America

The long-rumoured tie-up between Paradigm and Casey Wasserman's agency has been agreed in North America

By IQ on 18 Mar 2021

Paradigm artist Shawn Mendes

image © MTV International (CC BY 3.0)

Ending nearly a year of speculation, Paradigm Talent Agency has confirmed it has reached an agreement in principle to sell its music business in North America to Casey Wasserman’s Wasserman group.

The deal, which IQ reported earlier this month was close to completion, will see Wasserman take over Paradigm’s profitable music assets, as the agency seeks to raise funds amid the ongoing shutdown of all international touring.

Wasserman, a sports agency which manages a reported US$4.2 billion worth of contracts for athletes, sports broadcasters, team coaches/managers and others, has been in talks with Paradigm since at least last summer. It is understood the former Paradigm music business will sit as a semi-independent operating unit under Wasserman, likely named Wasserman Music.

Paradigm founder and CEO Sam Gores revealed in June that he had turned down a “historic” offer for Paradigm to be acquired by rival agency UTA. Since then, he has reportedly handed over the day-to-day running of the business to his younger brother, Tom, with the younger Gores seeking to recoup the investment he had made in Paradigm through his company, Crescent Drive Media, via a deal with Wasserman.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed by Paradigm, though Variety estimates the value of Paradigm’s collective music operations at between $150 million and $200m. The Beverly Hills-based agency’s music roster includes the likes of Coldplay, Shawn Mendes, Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran (US), Kacey Musgraves, David Guetta, Sia and Imagine Dragons.

“This represents an important transition for the incredible music agents of Paradigm”

“This agreement is a win for all parties and a vital step on the restructuring path we embarked upon more than a year ago,” says Sam Gores in a statement. “It represents an important transition for the incredible music agents of Paradigm and the artists they so brilliantly serve. We are huge fans of Casey Wasserman and the company he’s built, and I am very pleased that he and his team will be at the helm of this important business line.

“It’s both thrilling and bittersweet to reach this agreement, transition to a new era for Paradigm, and initiate a stabilising solution during a global pandemic that has created an existential crisis for our industry.”

In addition to his work with Wasserman (formerly Wasserman Media Group), Wasserman also formerly owned the Los Angeles Avengers American football team, and led Los Angeles’ successful bid to host the 2028 Summer Olympic games.

Wasserman’s move into the music space echoes the career of his grandfather, Lew Wasserman, who was a booking agent at, and later head of, Music Corporation of America (MCA), which he turned into the biggest talent agency in the world. Later, MCA bought Decca Records and Universal Studios, divesting its agency business and laying the foundations for Universal Music Group.


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