The merger of talent agencies CAA and ICM draws on the DOJ review


The Justice Department is investigating a major Hollywood deal that is set to disrupt the talent agency ecosystem and entertainment industry, according to a report.

DOJ is under scrutiny ICM is acquired by CAAAccording to the two major Hollywood talent agencies, which represent some of Tinseltown’s biggest stars Hollywood Reporter.

The CAA, represented by Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Scarlett Johansson, announced the acquisition of ICM, the home of Shonda Rhimes, Alec Baldwin and Uma Thurman, in September, with the contract expiring at the end of 2021.

But the DOJ’s new inquiry into how the merger between the two major agencies will affect the Hollywood landscape has delayed the deal, which is now expected to close in the second quarter of this year, anonymous sources told THR late Wednesday.

CAA, ICM and DOJ did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The CAA deal to acquire ICM, the fourth largest agency behind WME, CAA and UTA, is facing DOJ scrutiny.
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When the deal between CAA and ICM ends, the Talent Agency Landscape Endeavor-owned WME will have three major players in CAA and UTA, as well as smaller competitors such as APA, Gersh and Paradigm.

A source told THR that the DOJ’s antitrust division, headed by Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Conter, has already interviewed top executives at CAA and ICM, as well as some outsiders, such as APA CEO Jim Gosnell.

Sources said Hollywood unions such as the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA may have launched an investigation after voicing their concerns.

Bryan Lord of the CAA
CAA’s Brian Lourd said he was “very confident” that the ICM acquisition would pass, but for now, it seems the contract expiration date has been pushed back amid DOJ scrutiny.
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After the CAA-ICM agreement was initially announced, SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said in a statement that the union “will carefully review this combination of two-storey talent agencies to ensure that performers benefit and are not disadvantaged.”

When THR reached the CAA in September, co-president Bryan Lourd said “Too confident” The deal goes through. But the DOJ has criticized much of M&A activity under the Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission chairman Biden.

CAA's LA headquarters
CAA’s Century City headquarters in Los Angeles. The agency represents A-listers such as Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep and George Clooney.
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The DOJ sued Penguin Random House to block the sale of ViacomCBS book publisher Simon and Schuster, expressing concern that the deal would “greatly influence who and what is published, and how much the author is paid for his work.”

There are also other deals that can provoke concern. They include the Discovery Agreement To merge With Warner Media, Amazon has acquired Hollywood studio MGM and the merger of Spanish-language media giants Univision and Televisa.

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