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Margravine Management appoints new head of talent

Margravine Management, a joint venture with IMG, has appointed Lauren Dickinson to the newly created position of head of talent.

The management company, which was founded by online celebrities Joe Sugg and Caspar Lee, represents over twenty artists, including digital stars LadBaby, Strictly Come Dancing star Diane Buswell and fashion duo Sophia and Cinzia.

Dickinson will head up the talent division at the management company, bringing a roster of clients from across sport, digital and theatre.

In 2017, Dickinson set up BOSH Talent group, focusing on management across the broadcasting industry. She previously worked at United Agents and Cole Kitchen (now InterTalent) in the actor divisions.

Margravine Management’s LadBaby, who are the first group to hold the UK’s Christmas number one spot for two consecutive years with sausage rolls-themed cover songs, were signed to WME last year.

 


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The decade in live: 2013

The start of a new year and, perhaps more significantly, a new decade is fast approaching – and while many may be thinking ahead to New Year’s Eve plans and well-meaning 2020 resolutions, IQ is casting its mind back to the most pivotal industry moments of the last ten years.

Following on from a few tough years, 2013 was the year the live industry began to sparkle again, thanks to the improvement of several key economies and more favourable weather conditions.

The main issue for the 2013 business, in fact, appeared to be the abundance of tours, which somewhat outnumbered the amount of resources available to handle them.

2013 was also the year when a new generation began to shine, with the likes of Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and One Direction performing well on year-end charts, indicating that the future of live was certainly looking bright.

 


2013 in numbers

In 2013, the top 20 worldwide tours raked in a combined US$2.4 billion, up 24% on the $2bn generated the year before, according to Pollstar.

Bon Jovi once again made the top spot, surpassing their winning 2010 total by almost $60 million and achieving the highest year-end tour total of the year, grossing $259.5m from 2.7m tickets with the Because We Can tour.

Beyoncé’s The Mrs Carter Show came in second with a total gross of $188.6m, followed by Pink’s The Truth About Love with $170.6m. Justin Bieber came hot on the Pink’s heels at fourth, grossing $169m with his second concert tour Believe. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band earned $145.4m, adding to the $210.2m grossed in 2012.

Newcomers also made their mark in 2013, with One Direction scraping into the top ten global tours for the first time with the Take Me Home tour ($114) and Bruno Mars making his first top twenty appearance with Moonshine Jungle tour.

 


2013 in brief

January
Seatwave founder and chief exec Joe Cohen exits the UK-based company, claiming that the secondary ticketing business is in great shape.

Kylie Minogue and her manager of 25 years, Terry Blamey, split, as the artist announces her intention to concentrate on her acting career. Minogue is now represented by Jay-Z’s management company Roc Nation, who also look after Rihanna, MIA and The Ting Tings.

February
Universal sells EMI’s Parlophone label group to Warner Music for an estimated £480m ($764m). The deal effectively means that three record companies now dominate the global market – Universal, Sony and Warner.

March
SFX Entertainment receives an undisclosed financial boost from advertising giant WPP, which counts agencies such as JWT; Grey; and Young & Rubicam in its portfolio. The deal gives SFX a powerful ally as it looks to ramp up its EDM empire.

AEG’s deal to take over the management of Wembley Arena is referred to the Competition Commission in the UK after an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading, which is concerned that AEG has too big an influence over live entertainment in the capital.

The decade in live: 2013

Wembley Stadium in 2013 © Wikiolo/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0

April
Princess Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, becomes arguably the most renowned ticket tout in the world, when he resells tickets for his debenture box at the Royal Albert Hall.

New York-based agency Paradigm launches a record label, Big Picnic Records, which boss Marty Diamond intends to use to “support the development of new artists.”

May
Ticketmaster files a lawsuit against a New York man who they allege uses bots to buy as many as 200,000 tickets a day, before the general public can.

Pink smashes her record of 17 shows at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena by booking an 18th date on her The Truth About Love tour. The Australian leg includes 46 shows and is expected to sell more than 500,000 tickets.

June
The promoter and stage supplier are charged in relation to a fatal stage collapse, which claimed the life of Radiohead drum tech Scott Johnson in Toronto’s Downsview Park last year.

Live Nation and Insomniac Events confirm rumours of a creative partnership, although the latter’s chief, Pasquale Rotella states Insomniac will remain independent.

The decade in live: 2013

Insomniac promotes EDM festival franchise Electric Daisy Carnival © Global Stomping/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

July
Vince Power sells a major shareholding in Benicàssim Festival to SJM Concerts and Denis Desmond in a deal designed to assure the future of the popular Spanish event. Power will remain MD of the event which this year featured Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, Beady Eye, and The Killers.

Vivendi rejects an $8.5bn offer for Universal Music Group from Japanese telecoms giant SoftBank. It’s thought the increasing importance of music services in the mobile market prompted the unsolicited offer.

August
Lady Gaga and Madonna face prosecution in Russia for allegedly performing without proper visas. Both artists are accused of breaking Russia’s new gay propaganda laws, which make it illegal to promote homosexuality to minors.

Agency IMG Worldwide is put up for sale by private equity firm, Forstmann Little & Co, with analysts expecting a price tag of about $2bn.

September
Michael Gudinski’s Frontier Touring agrees a strategic partnership with dance promoter Future Music Festival to present the touring event, which visits five Australian cities and Malaysia next March.

Irving Azoff partners with The Madison Square Garden Company to create Azoff MSG Entertainment. In return for a $125m investment, MSG will own a 50% stake in a company, which will include artist management, TV production, live event branding and digital marketing divisions.

The decade in live: 2013

Benicàssim Festival © Jiquesan/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

October
The jury in the $1.5bn case brought by Michael Jackson’s family against AEG finds that although AEG did employ Dr Conrad Murray, the company was not liable for his negligence.

Austin City Limits organisers are forced to cancel the final day of the US music festival when heavy rain and thunderstorms cause flooding.

November
Scooter Braun, manager of Justin Bieber, is pulling together a management conglomerate thanks to backing from Waddell & Reed Financial. The New York Times says Braun is in talks with several potential partners including Drake and his management team, Shania Twain and Troy Carter (ex Lady Gaga manager).

Live Nation confirms it is negotiating terms to acquire the management companies of U2 and Madonna. The deal to buy Paul McGuinness’s Principle Management and Guy Oseary’s Maverick could cost about $30m with Oseary taking over management of both operations.

December
Talent agency William Morris Endeavour acquires IMG Worldwide in a $2.3bn deal backed by private equity group Silver Lake.

SFX Entertainment pays $16.2m for a 75% stake in Dutch- based ticketing operation Paylogic, which counts 2,000 clients across its offices in Groningen, Amsterdam, Berlin and Antwerp.

The decade in live: 2013

Claude Nobs, Montreux Jazz founder (1936-2013) © Yvan Hausmann @ MJF/Yvanhausman (CC BY-SA 3.0)

 


Who we lost

Notable industry deaths in 2013 include Claude Nobs, Montreux Jazz Festival founder and GM, 76; Modern World founder Henning Tögel, 58; Cecil Womack, The Valentinos and Womack & Womack singer, aged 65; Live Nation Denmark CEO Flemming Schmidt, 63; German promoter Fritz Rau, 83; Edwin Shirley, founder of Edwin Shirley Trucking and Edwin Shirley Staging, 65; Danish live music impresario Arne Worsøe, 72; Velvet Underground singer and guitarist and solo artist Lou Reed, 71.

 


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Record setting year for Hampton Court Palace Festival

Now in its 26th year, Hampton Court Palace Festival is the latest event to announce record-breaking success in 2018. Organisers are celebrating the sell-out of 11 of its 13 shows scheduled for the 3,000 person capacity auditorium in the palace grounds.

Organised by IMG, the 18-day event came to a close last Saturday (23 June) with a performance from the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. The show ended with an impressive fireworks display in the East Front Gardens of the palace.

Aside from the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, festivalgoers at this year’s event also flocked in great numbers to see the likes of Tom Jones, Paloma Faith, Gary Barlow and The Beach Boys perform in the auditorium in the Base Court courtyard of the palace. Barlow enjoyed a particularly sought-after festival, as it was announced sales to his concert sold out in the fastest time ever for the event, in less than two hours.

“Every concert has been of a truly world-class standard performed in the palace’s intimate historic auditorium”

As one might expect from a festival set in a former Tudor king’s residence, Hampton Court Palace Festival is known for its luxury. 2018 certainly didn’t differ in this respect, with VIP guests being treated to three-course dinners in the palace’s state rooms, accompanied by fine wines that were “fit for a king”.

On the popularity of this year’s festival, Stephen Flint Wood, managing director of arts and entertainment at IMG, says: “We are absolutely delighted with the record-breaking success of this year’s Hampton Court Palace Festival.

“Every concert has been of a truly world-class standard performed in the palace’s intimate historic auditorium, providing an unforgettable experience for all of our guests.”

This feeling was shared by reviewers. The Sunday Mirror called the event ‘a perfect setting for rock royalty’ whilst the Sunday Express labelled it a ‘run of spectacular shows at one of the UK’s grandest of venues’.

 


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Blavatnik, IMG’s Shustorovich drawn into Trump Russia probe

Two prominent entertainment business figures have been drawn into the ongoing investigation into alleged Russian interference in last year’s US presidential election.

Sir Len Blavatnik, whose Access Industries holding company owns Warner Music Group, and Alexander Shustorovich, the chief executive of performing arts agency IMG Artists, are reportedly under scrutiny from investigators led by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is overseeing a probe into the Trump presidential campaign’s alleged links with the Russian government.

According to the Dallas Morning News, political contributions by Sir Len – a Ukrainian-born American/British businessman who had previously donated to both parties – took a “hard right turn” in 2015–16, when he gave more than US$6m to Republican party political action committees (PACs).

Of that $6m, the paper says, the majority, $3.5m went to a PAC associated with Kentucky Republican senator and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, with smaller amounts donated to PACs backing senator Marco Rubio ($1.5m), Wisconsin governor Scott Walker ($1.1m) and Trump’s Inaugural Committee ($1m).

Len Blavatnik and Alexander Shustorovich are reportedly under scrutiny from investigators led by special counsel Robert Mueller

Shustorovich, a Russian-American business magnate with business interests in TV, radio and other media, similarly gave $1m to the Inaugural Committee, which was accepted by the Trump team – despite the rejection of a previous attempt to donate to the Republicans, in 2000, because of concerns over his ties to the Russian government.

Two other men, Andrew Intrater and Kukes – neither of which have any history of political donations – are also reportedly of interest to investigators. Both have been employees of Sir Len: Intrater is chief executive of Columbus Nova, a division of Renova, an investment company co-founded by Blavatnik and his business partner Viktor Vekselberg in 1990, while Kukes worked for Blavatnik and Vekselberg’s TNK from 1998 to 2003.

In addition to owning Warner Music, Access Industries is an investor in Spotify, Deezer and Songkick, the latter of which Warner partially acquired in July. Blavatnik was knighted in 2017 for his philanthropy.

Democratic representative Adam Schiff told ABC News he believes the contributions to be legal, as all donors are US citizens, “unless the contributions were directed by a foreigner”. He added, however, that they “could still be of interest to investigators examining allegations of Russian influence on the 2016 campaign. Obviously, if there were those that had associations with the Kremlin that were contributing, that would be of keen concern.”

 


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WME-IMG becomes Endeavor

WME-IMG – the mega-agency formed by the 2013 merger of music/media agency William Morris Endeavor and sports booking outfit International Management Group – has rebranded as Endeavor.

The new holding company incorporates WME; IMG; UFC, the mixed martial-arts promoter it bought for US$4bn last July; Droga5, a New York-based ad agency; bull-riding team Professional Bull Riders; the Miss Universe Organization; the Frieze art fair; management companies Dixon Talent and The Wall Group; and a number of joint ventures, including Euroleague Basketball, esports championship Eleague and its new division in China.

All WME clients remain with the agency, and daily operations will not be affected, a spokesperson tells IQ.

The creation of WME-IMG represented “a pivotal moment in our company’s history,” says Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel (pictured), “but it does not accurately reflect the extent of our diversity or indicate where we’re headed.

“Unlike 20 years ago, we’re now sitting at the centre of an incredible global network”

“In creating Endeavor, we now have a holding company that represents the very definition of the word itself, constantly striving to push boundaries on behalf of our clients and owned properties.”

Executive chairman Patrick Whitesell adds: “Our business at its core remains rooted in access, service and creativity. The one substantial difference is that unlike 20 years ago, we’re now sitting at the centre of an incredible global network.

“We have the relationships and the platforms to help our clients and partners extend their reach and bring their creative initiatives to life.”

 


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Shapiro, Francini named WME-IMG co-presidents

Agency powerhouse WME-IMG has named Mark Shapiro and Ioris Francini as co-presidents.

As co-presidents of WME-IMG – formed by the merger in 2013 of music and entertainment agency William Morris Endeavor (WME) and sports agency International Management Group (IMG) – Shapiro and Francini will “oversee the company’s media, events, fashion, licensing, global partnerships, original content, IMG College, IMG Academy, Miss Universe Organization [sic], Professional Bull Riders and Frieze businesses, in addition to the company’s new China subsidiary“.

“Mark and Ioris combine the vision and expertise to help the company succeed in this next chapter”

New York-based Shapiro, who was earlier this year reelected to the Live Nation board of directors, was previously WME-IMG’s chief content officer, while London-based Francini was president of IMG events and media.

“Mark and Ioris have been great partners these past few years, helping us integrate WME and IMG, generate organic growth, and expand into new business lines and geographies,” say Ariel Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, WME-IMG co-CEOs, in a joint statement. “WME-IMG is a strong, dynamic business with exciting opportunities ahead, and Mark and Ioris combine the vision and expertise to help the company succeed in this next chapter.”

 


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WME-IMG appoints NBA exec to head up China office

William Morris Endeavor (WME) has hired Michael Ma, formerly vice-president of the National Basketball Association (NBA), to head its new WME-IMG China subsidiary.

WME-IMG China was formed with private-equity backing in June to facilitate the booking agency group’s “new forays into Chinese sports and entertainment”.

Ma had most recently served NBA’s special assistant to the CEO in Beijing (pictured), where he will be based for his new role.

“Michael brings not only a deep knowledge of the Chinese market, but also incredible experience in cultivating brands within China through his work with the NBA”

“Michael brings not only a deep knowledge of the Chinese market, but also incredible experience in cultivating brands within China through his work with the NBA,” say WME-IMG co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell in a joint statement. “We’re looking forward to working alongside Michael to expand our current business in China while creating new opportunities for our clients and partners in one of our fastest growing markets.”

WME-IMG was formed in late 2013 after music and media agency William Morris Endeavor and its corporate parent, Silver Lake Partners, bought sports agency International Management Group (IMG) for US$2.3 billion.

 


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WME pays $4bn for martial arts promoter

In what is being called the largest sale in sporting history, WME-IMG has acquired mixed martial-arts promoter Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for US$4 billion.

According to Chris Matthuis of KLAS-TV, who broke the story ahead of the official announcement this morning, brothers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta and Dana White, who have owned UFC in 2001, will retain a “small percentage” of ownership in the company, which produces more than 40 live events a year and is broadcast in 29 languages to over a billion households in 156 countries.

The deal is backed by investors Silver Lake, KKR and MSD Capital, and is the biggest acquisition by WME-IMG parent Silver Lake since it bought sports agency IMG (International Management Group) for US$2.3 billion in late 2013 and merged it with music, media and literary agency WME (William Morris Endeavor).

“We’re committed to pursuing new opportunities for UFC and its talented athletes to ensure the sport’s continued growth and success on a global scale”

The huge amount of money changing hands – rumoured to be an all-cash deal for the Fertittas and White – will renew speculation that Silver Lake is planning to go public with WME-IMG to recoup some of its investment.

“We’ve been fortunate over the years to represent UFC and a number of its remarkable athletes,” say Ariel Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, co-CEOs of WME-IMG, in a statement. “It’s been exciting to watch the organisation’s incredible growth over the last decade under the leadership of the Fertitta brothers, Dana White and their dedicated team. We’re now committed to pursuing new opportunities for UFC and its talented athletes to ensure the sport’s continued growth and success on a global scale.”

Last month WME-IMG expanded its Chinese operation with backing from private-equity firms Sequoia Capital and FountainVest Partners and Asia’s largest internet company, Tencent, and in April secured close to $6m in funding from wealth-management firm Fidelity and Japanese telecoms company SoftBank.

 


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