Ari Emanuel not interested in buying UTA after CAA and ICM agreement – Deadline


(Update with more Conference Code) “No,” an Ari Emanuel told the Code Conference Tuesday when asked if he would buy UTA now that CAA has acquired ICM Partners.

“We don’t need it,” Endeavor CEO told conference attendees at the Beverly Hilton, noting that WME is still “the biggest agency in the business.”

It should be noted that there is no indication that UTA is for sale, regardless of anyone’s potential interest.

Joking that he appreciated the CAA for having “validated my strategy in 2008” of wanting to grow “organically”, Emanuel noted in a verbal tone that “the ICM has not been what it was ago. 15 years “. Leaning in, he also countered the perception that WME is a minor player in Endeavor’s overall business. “Our advocacy business has grown by double digits every year,” he said, putting aside the pandemic year of 2020. “It’s the engine of growth for our business. “

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Veteran sitting in the red chair with Kara Swisher, Endeavor’s often-pugilist boss’s latest appearance comes a day after the Hollywood agency landscape changed dramatically with CAA’s purchase of ICM Partners going public .

“I think they bought five amazing TV writers,” Emanuel joked to Swisher when the New York Times The columnist asked what CAA actually got out of the multi-million dollar deal. “They bought a very good book business and a very good football representation business outside of Europe,” he added.

Even as WME co-founder Emanuel faces a newly expanded rival in the talent representation arena, parent company Endeavor has made it clear that it is focusing on a larger environment. Never one to voluntarily lose a news cycle, he landed his fair share of the headlines on Monday with the purchase of $ 1.2 billion in cash and stock from sportsbook provider OpenBet.

“We’re in the sports business and we’re in the games business,” Emanuel said of the impetus behind the OpenBet deal. “It’s an arena that is growing dramatically around the world and we have some big competitors in that space… it was a perfect fit for us,” he added, noting the actions of the global betting business. sportsmen of 77 billion dollars.

Latest of major agencies to declare themselves ‘uncle’ in legal and public relations battle with WGA over union’s successful campaign to end the lucrative practice of packaging, WME’s time in the Octagon of work was a UFC-worthy game owned by Endeavor. Also this week, the WME Independent domestic and international film sales and film financing advisory services were established as the sale of a controlling stake in Endeavor Content progresses to meet WGA phase-out requirements. packaging.

Against this backdrop, Emanuel on Tuesday downplayed the view that Swisher and many believe last year saw the big screen industry’s inevitable shift from theaters to hybrid releases, or straight to streaming. “The moment you and I are comfortable sharing an armrest, the movie business is back,” proclaimed the executive, while repeating “I’m not in the business of predictions.”

Looking at the stock market, Endeavor has had a pretty decent run since its IPO in late April. Nothing flashy, stocks surged on OpenBet news yesterday and cropped up today – up 6% in a terrible market. The street response makes sense as the company has focused heavily on sports / sports betting and will combine OpenBet with IMG Arena and start making it a fourth reporting segment in its quarterly earnings (along with Owned Sports Properties; Events, Experiences & Rights; and Representation).

“I think it went pretty well,” Emanuel said of the company’s second IPO effort, after pulling out the plug the eleventh hour before. “I still don’t care,” he admitted to stay in the game after all these years.

In this vein, Emanuel spoke about his company and the industry which needs to do more and better in terms of inclusion. “If we don’t adapt and change for the right reasons, not just financial reasons, we’d be dumb,” Emanuel said of Blacklist founder Franklin Leonard’s question about the rift between the composition of WME and the demographics of the entertainment industry audience.

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Overall, Endeavor is taking a slightly different direction than a combined CAA-ICM partner, an agreement that seems to put representation at the center of the agenda. Emanuel really wanted an IPO to have a currency for trading, and he uses that. He insisted that the tactic be used judiciously as the company’s debt still needs to be deleveraged. In this vein, Emanuel on Monday called the OpenBet agreement “transformational”.

Some floating enthusiasm about agency mergers and acquisitions after yesterday’s news could also boost Endeavor’s shares. They closed Tuesday up nearly 6% at $ 28.89, despite the major indices falling.

The Code Conference continues until tomorrow.

Jill Goldsmith contributed to this report.


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