- Backed by private equity sponsors, large talent agencies are expanding past strictly the traditional media sector in pursuit of greater vertical integration.
Key Market Movements
CAA (Creative Arts Agency), an entertainment and sports agency, received an undisclosed amount of development capital from Temasek on September 26, 2017. CAA also received an undisclosed amount of development capital from China Media Capital, Fubon Life Insurance, and Taiwan Mobile on October 5, 2017. The investment will be used to support the company’s formation of its Chinese media and entertainment platform CAA China. Taiwan Mobile invested $26 million in the company as part of this transaction.
UTA (United Talent Agency), a talent management agency representing artists and other entertainment professionals in the United States, received $200 million of development capital from Investcorp Bank and Public Sector Pension Investment Board on August 7, 2018. The post-deal valuation of the firm was $500 million.
James Grant Group, a London-based provider of management and professional services, is in talks to be acquired by Bowmark Capital, Inflexion Private Equity, and Trilantic Partners through a $195 million LBO on November 24, 2017.The company offers a one-stop-shop for its clients in the sports, music, literary, social talent, and entertainment sectors, providing accountancy, legal, social media, contract negotiation, and strategic career planning services.
Eventbrite, a San Francisco-based events and ticketing platform, filed for a $200 million IPO on August 23, 2018. On September 7, 2018, Eventbrite filed updated information indicating an initial pricing range of $19-$21 per share. Eventbrite plans to sell 10 million shares, which would raise $200 million at the mid-point price. With 77.57 million shares outstanding after the IPO, Eventbrite’s market cap will be $1.55 billion.
UFC signed an exclusive broadcast television deal with ESPN. For $300 million per year for five years, ESPN will own exclusive rights to broadcast 30 UFC fights per year starting in early 2019. UFC broadcast rights were previously owned by Fox. Two weeks beforehand, ESPN purchased the rights to UFC’s digital streaming content. UFC was acquired by Endeavor (formerly WME-IMG) for $4.4 billion in 2016.
New York Media, the owner of New York Magazine and several associated websites, is exploring a sale. New York Media is owned by a holding company organized by Bruce Wasserstein, who purchased New York Media for $55 million in 2003. New York Media controls several media verticals, including Grub Street, The Cut, and The Strategist. New York Magazine currently has as circulation of 404,000.
Viacom, a media conglomerate based in New York City, acquired AwesomenessTV from NBCUniversal for $50 million on July 27, 2018. AwesomenessTV is a youth-focused media and content company. The $50 million price is a sharp drop in valuation since 2016, when a Verizon purchase of a 24.5% stake set AwesomenessTV’s valuation at $650 million. DreamWorks Animation purchased AwesomenessTV in 2013, and the company was in turn purchased by NBCUniversal in 2016. AwesomenessTV will become a part of Viacom Digital Studios as part of its most recent acquisition. This deal does not include the DreamWorksTV YouTube channel, which will remain with NBCUniversal.