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UK’s X-ray Touring forms alliance with US’s AGI

London-based X-ray Touring has extended its joint-venture partnership with private-equity firm the Yucaipa Companies, continuing a relationship that began in 2017, and formed a new strategic alliance with New York’s Artist Group International (AGI), part of Yucaipa’s Y Entertainment Group.

The partnership will see the two agencies will work together internationally, with X-ray remaining under the control and direction of founding partners Martin Horne, Ian Huffam, Steve Strange and Scott Thomas and newly added board member Josh Javor.

X-ray’s roster of more than 400 acts includes Coldplay, Eminem, Robbie Williams, Gorillaz, Queens of the Stone Age, Linkin Park, Pixies, Stereophonics, Bombay Bicycle Club, Enter Shikari and Fever 333, while AGI represents Billy Joel, Metallica, Rod Stewart, Neil Young, Linkin Park, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, the Strokes and Cage the Elephant, among others.

Yucaipa also has interests in two other London-based agencies, ITG and K2, Los Angeles-based APA, US promoter Danny Wimmer Presents and Spain’s Primavera Sound festival, as well as management company LBI Entertainment and sports agencies ISE and Steinberg Sports.

X-ray was also formerly allied with Paradigm Talent Agency (then Coda) in London, in which Yucaipa held a stake, though that relationship has now come to an end.

“The synergies between these companies creates even more opportunity for their clients”

“This had been a long time coming and I know all of X-ray is excited by this strategic partnership with AGI and Y Entertainment,” says Huffam. “There will be many changes over the next few years but our proven collective track records offer artists the best route forward to live success.”

“I have long admired what the X-ray team led by Ian, Steve, Scott and Martin have built,” says AGI’s Dennis Arfa. “We have wanted to work with X-ray for many years and are thrilled to finally have the opportunity to do so.”

AGI president Marsha Vlasic adds: “I am thrilled and excited to be joining forces with X-ray, a company that I have long admired and respected. I feel extremely positive about all of us being able to do great things together. During a time like this, which has been so difficult for all us, having this come together has been such a breath of fresh air and energy.”

“I am personally excited and delighted by our renewed joint venture partnership with my good friend Ron Burkle and the Yucaipa group,” says X-ray’s Strange. “I am also looking forward to our new strategic partnership with AGI in the US. I have known Dennis and Marsha and others at AGI for many years and I truly believe that our alliance will work fantastically well. We already feel that the chemistry between both companies can only strengthen our global impact.”

“AGI and X-ray’s leadership and innovation in the industry is unparallelled,” comments Yucaipa founder Ron Burkle. “The synergies between these companies creates even more opportunity for their clients. This is a perfect match both culturally and strategically and I look forward watching their collaboration as they continue to grow globally.“


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K2 Agency signs Bullet for My Valentine

London-based K2 Agency has signed metal superstars Bullet for My Valentine for all international (excluding North America) representation.

The signing is the first major deal struck by K2 following the agency’s partnering with private-equity company Yucaipa’s Y Entertainment Group in August.

“I have admired Bullet for many years and I am honoured to be chosen to represent such an iconic British band,” comments K2 founder John Jackson. “K2 and Raw Power Management will be a formidable force, and I look forward to working with Craig Jennings and his fantastic team.”

“I am honoured to be chosen to represent such an iconic British band”

Bullet for My Valentine, who were formerly represented by UTA’s Paul Ryan, continue with CAA in the US and Canada.

The band are currently working on their seventh studio album, the follow-up to 2018’s Gravity, with plans for a tour in 2021.

Bullet join the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slayer, A Day to Remember, Ghost, Alter Bridge, Shinedown, Volbeat, Gojira and Mastodon on K2’s roster of rock and metal heavyweights.


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PE firm Yucaipa invests in APA

Less than a month after buying into UK metal agency K2, the Yucaipa Companies, the private-equity group controlled by billionaire investor Ron Burkle, has made a strategic investment in Los Angeles-based APA.

APA, the former Agency for the Performing Arts, is headquartered in Hollywood and has offices in New York, Nashville, Atlanta, Toronto and London. Its roster includes Blondie, House of Pain, Fetty Wap, Nickelback, Azealia Banks, Rodriguez, Lil Xan, Gang of Four, King Crimson, Nick Carter, Doves and 50 Cent.

Yucaipa, meanwhile, has stakes in Paradigm’s European business (including X-ray Touring), Spanish festival Primavera Sound and US promoter Danny Wimmer Presents, and owns Artist Group International.

“Ron Burkle and Yucaipa share our philosophy for disciplined growth”

According to Variety, which first reported on the deal, Burkle’s investment in APA is a non-equity arrangement that sees Yucaipa take on APA debt in exchange for cash. Variety’s sources say the cash influx will allow APA to recruit agents and clients at a time when its corporate agency rivals are furloughing and laying off staff.

“With so much uncertainty in the entertainment industry, we’re very pleased to be collaborating with a person and a company so in sync with our vision for the future of our business,” says APA CEO Jim Gosnell. “Ron Burkle and Yucaipa share our philosophy for disciplined growth, and are 100% behind our strategy to expand upon our core business across all media platforms.”

In other APA news, the agency’s head of talent, Jim Osborne (pictured), has been named president, taking over the role from Gosnell.


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K2 joins forces with Y Entertainment Group’s AGI

UK-based international booking agency K2, which represents the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden and Slayer, has announced a joint venture with investment firm Yucaipa’s umbrella of companies.

Under the new partnership, K2 joins the Yucaipa-owned international booking agency Artist Group International (AGI) in the Y Entertainment Group.

Yucaipa’s existing interests in the music industry also include a joint venture with Paradigm Talent Agency, a minority stake in Primavera Sound and Primavera Pro and an acquisition of US promoter Danny Wimmer Presents (DWP).

“I have had the pleasure of collaborating with [AGI chairman] Dennis and the team at AGI for many years,” says K2 founder and renowned music agent John Jackson.

“Not only is there mutual respect between us, but we share a similar philosophy and work ethic when it comes to our artists, agents and staff. As such, joining forces is the perfect fit and an opportunity to flourish on the global stage.”

K2 agency was launched in 2004 and in recent years has acquired UK companies EGO Agency and Factory Music Management and Agency.

“Joining forces is the perfect fit and an opportunity to flourish”

Founder of Factory Music Management and Agency, Sharon Richardson, brought to K2 her roster of over 20 rock and metal artists, which include Delain, Sabaton, Steve Harris’s British Lion and Metal Allegiance. The acquisition of EGO brought over company founder Jim Morewood, agent Yerry Stetter, and EGO’s largely heavy metal-focused roster.

Chairman Dennis Arfa says, “John runs one of the best agencies in the world. We’re thrilled to be working with him and his K2 team. We share many clients including Metallica, Ghost, and Volbeat and over the years have developed a natural synergy. We are pleased that our ownership has staunchly facilitated and supported our expansion efforts.”

AGI was founded in 1986 and represents artists such as Billy Joel, Metallica, Def Leppard, Rod Stewart and Motley Crue.

It was acquired by The Yucaipa Companies in 2011, with an eye towards expanding its reach in the live entertainment space through strategic acquisitions and organic growth.

The companies say plans for collaboration, expansion and diversification will be further revealed in the coming months.


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