Less than a week after Billboard reported a possible merger between two of the most lucrative agencies in show business, United Talent Agency (UTA) and Paradigm, Paradigm’s chairman and CEO, Sam Gores, confirmed the deal would not happen in a statement released to employees.
“After careful consideration and in consultation with leaders of both the Music and Talent/Literary executive groups, I have made the decision to shut down discussions and not make this deal,” Gores wrote.
While details of the possible deal only surfaced recently to the public, Gores and UTA’s CEO Jeremy Zimmer had been in talks for months. However, with mounting pressure from an IPO filed by Endeavor, which owns UTA rival WME, Gores decided to pull out of the discussions.
UTA released a statement in regards to ending the discussions as well, wherein Zimmer told Billboard: “We admire Sam and the business he and his colleagues have built. We are disappointed we didn’t come to an agreement. But we wish him and everyone at Paradigm the best.”
Had the deal gone through, UTA’s reputable talent division?—which boasts a client list that includes staples in the film industry like Chris Pratt, Seth Rogen, and the Coen brothers?—would have been combined with Paradigm’s equally respectable roster of musicians like Major Lazer, Ed Sheeran, and The Black Keys. This would have made the new linked business one of the most powerful in the world, especially in regards to UTA, which has had little luck expanding their music division even after the acquisition of The Agency Group in 2015.
Read Gores’ full statement on the failed deal below:
“I want to address the events of the past week and the press reports surrounding a potential transaction between Paradigm and UTA. The fact is that our industry is in an era of significant change and also unprecedented opportunity.
The complexion of what the agency business will look like has led all of the major agencies including ourselves to look at ways to strengthen their platforms and provide more resources to clients.
UTA made an offer to acquire Paradigm that would have represented one of the largest talent agency transactions in the history of our business.
The offer was made for both the Talent/Literary and Music divisions. This offer is a tribute to the work that all of us have done and the quality of the asset we have created together.
After careful consideration and in consultation with leaders of both the Music and Talent/Literary executive groups, I have made the decision to shut down discussions and not make this deal.
There are reasons why a combination like this would have made sense for both agencies, but in the end, what is more compelling for us is how unique the culture at Paradigm is and how powerful our independent path can be.
For obvious reasons, it is not possible to communicate with the entire company when a conversation like this occurs. Those who know me and the history of how we have built Paradigm know that I always make decisions regarding the future of the business by considering what is ultimately in the best interest of our agency as a whole and all of our clients.
The past week has given us the opportunity to make us stronger both internally and externally. We should be proud of what we have built and be proud of our courage to bet on ourselves.
Let’s all get back to work and continue to do what we do so well. For the Art For the Artist.”
Photo credit: pitpony.photography