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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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Paradigm investor Yucaipa ups interest in live

Private-equity firm the Yucaipa Companies has provided backing for another live entertainment company, making a “substantial” investment in independent US festival producer Danny Wimmer Presents (DWP).

Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa has existing interests in the live music industry, through its joint venture with Paradigm Talent Agency and minority stake in Primavera Sound and Primavera Pro.

Danny Hayes, CEO of DWP, cites Yucaipa’s “successful investments in the music industry” as the reason for the financial partnership.

“We had several different options for investors, but ultimately selected Yucaipa because they really understood our growth strategy, and they are uniquely situated to help us execute on it,” says Hayes.

“Yucaipa [also] has key relationships in cities where we already operate and others we’d like to enter. We believe they will be able to accelerate our plans to expand into new markets.”

“We believe [Yucaipa] will be able to accelerate our plans to expand into new markets”

Founded in 2011, LA-based DWP produces seven music festivals across the US: Sonic Temple in Ohio, Aftershock in California, Epicenter in North Carolina, Welcome to Rockville in Florida and the Louisville Trifesta series, comprising Hometown Rising, Louder Than Life and Bourbon & Beyond.

DWP festivals attracted almost 750,000 fans in 2019.

The promoter aims to announce its initial acquisitions soon, having also announced new investment from First Horizon Bank and a renewed ticketing partnership with Front Gate Tickets.

“Collectively, the new and renewed partnerships provide DWP with a foundation to aggressively grow the business surrounded by forward-thinking partners,” comments Hayes.

The United Auburn Indian Community, an earlier investor in DWP, continues to hold a position with the company.

 


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Paradigm partner Yucaipa buys into Primavera Sound

American private-equity firm the Yucaipa Companies has made a minority investment in Primavera Sound and Primavera Pro.

Yucaipa, led by Ron Burkle, has an existing presence in the live music market via its joint venture with Paradigm Talent Agency, X-ray Touring, Coda Agency and ITG, which forms part of larger fund for investing in live entertainment.

The Primavera deal, specifics of which were not disclosed, was first reported by Pollstar and confirmed to IQ by both Yucaipa and the festival.

Yucaipa Companies principal Frank Quintero says the two parties “saw each other as a partner who shared the same ethos and vision to continue to grow the brand”.

Primavera Sound is Spain’s biggest music festival, with a daily capacity of 35,000 at the Parc del Forum in Barcelona. It held its 18th edition, headlined by Nick Cave, Björk, the National, Arctic Monkeys, Migos, Lorde and Asap Rocky, from 30 May to 3 June.

 


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