KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • Backed by private equity sponsors, large talent agencies are expanding across the media sector in pursuit of vertical integration.

Key Market Movements


CAA (Creative Arts Agency), operator of an entertainment and sports agency, received an undisclosed amount of development capital from Temasek on September 26, 2017. Earlier, the company received an undisclosed amount of development capital from China Media Capital, Fubon Life Insurance and Taiwan Mobile on October 5, 2017. The investment would support the company to form media and entertainment platform CAA China. Taiwan Mobile invested $26 million in the company as part of this transaction.

UTA (United Talent Agency), Operator of talent management agency representing artists and other entertainment professionals in the United States. The company 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 M.

James Grant Group, London-based Provider of management and professional services. The company offers as 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. The company is in talks to be acquired by Bowmark Capital, Inflexion Private Equity and Trilantic Partners through a $195 M LBO on November 24, 2017.

Eventbrite, a San Francisco-based events and ticketing platform, filed for a $200M IPO on August 23, 2018. On September 7th, 2018, Eventbrite filed updated information indicating a initial pricing range of $19-$21 per share; Eventbrite plans to sell 10M shares, and so will raise $200M at the mid-point price. With 77.57M shares outstanding after the IPO, Eventbrite’s market cap will be $1.55B.

UFC signed a new television deal with ESPN. For $300M per year for 5 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 $4.4B 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 $55M in 2003. New York Media controls several media verticals, including Grub Street, The Cut, and the Strategist. New York magazine as a current circulation of 404,000.

Viacom, a media conglomerate based in New York City, acquired AwesomenessTV from NBCUniversal for $50M on July 27, 2018. AwesomenessTV is a youth-focused media and content company. The $50M price is a sharp drop in valuation since 2016, when a Verizon purchase of a 24.5% stake set AwesomenessTV’s valuation at $650M in 2016. DreamWorks Animation purchased AwesomenessTV in 2013, and was in turn purchased by NBCUniversal in 2016. AwesomenessTV will become a part of Viacom Digital Studios. This deal does not include the DreamWorksTV Youtube channel, which will remain with NBCUniversal.

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