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Paradigm–Wasserman deal ‘close to the finish line’

It should be announced in the next month that Paradigm’s music division has been absorbed by Casey Wasserman's Wasserman agency, according to Irving Azoff

By IQ on 04 Mar 2021

Casey Wasserman founded Wasserman Media Group in 1998

Casey Wasserman founded Wasserman Media Group in 1998

image © Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm TECH

Paradigm Talent Agency and US sports agency Wasserman are believed to be close to finalising a deal that would see Wasserman take over Paradigm’s music business and assets.

Wasserman, led by founder and CEO Casey Wasserman, has been in acquisition talks with heavily indebted Paradigm since at least last summer, with Casey believed to be keen to absorb Paradigm’s usually profitable music division into his Wasserman business, which manages US$4.2 billion worth of contracts for athletes, sports broadcasters, team coaches/managers and more.

He also formerly owned the Los Angeles Avengers American football team and led Los Angeles’ successful bid to host the 2028 Summer Olympic games.

Reporting in June, The Wrap described how Tom Gores, the younger brother of Paradigm founder and CEO Sam Gores, had assumed “functional oversight” of Paradigm. The younger Gores is believed to be looking to recoup the investment he made in Paradigm through his company, Crescent Drive Media, via a deal with Wasserman.

According to Variety, Paradigm had a debt load of around $80 million as of May, run up over a 15-year period of acquisitions, including agencies Peninsula Artists, Little Big Man, the Windish Agency, AM Only and the UK’s Coda Agency.

Sam Gores revealed in June that he had turned down a “historic” offer for Paradigm to be acquired by UTA.

“It feels to me like it’s going to go on another month or so”

Speaking at ILMC today (4 March), legendary artist manager Irving Azoff, who joined Ed Bicknell for the (Late) Breakfast Meeting keynote, revealed that the Paradigm–Wasserman deal is close to completion, predicting that a tie-up between the two companies would be announced later this spring.

“It feels to me like it’s going to go on another month or so,” said Azoff, who worked for Casey’s grandfather, Lew Wasserman, at Universal Music (then MCA) in the 1980s.

Azoff said negotiations with Wasserman began after the UTA deal fell through: “A lot of the agents felt they weren’t consulted and didn’t want to move to a bigger place [UTA],” he explained, “and then Casey came on to advise Tom [Gores] on what to do with the agency.”

“They’re working out some some sharing arrangement on revenues, but most of the agents, as I understand it, intend to move over to Wasserman,” he continued.

“I would say they’re there – they’re close to the finish line. But, as you know, it’s not over until the fat lady sings.”

Paradigm’s music roster includes the likes of Coldplay, Shawn Mendes, Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran (US), Kacey Musgrave, David Guetta, Sia and Imagine Dragons. The agency, headquartered in Beverly Hills, did not respond to a request for comment.


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