The agreement was made a little more than year after ICM CEO Jeffrey Berg met Suhail Rizvi at a time when the agency was suffering defections of agents and their clients to competitors including
Berg will remain in control of ICM and its 150 agents as chairman and largest shareholder. Rizvi’s $75 million investment gets him a seat on ICM’s board.
The cash infusion is expected to help a younger generation of ICM agents gain partnership positions as inducement to remain with the company and will also enable the Beverly Hills-based agency to make outside investments.
But first it plans to make good on an agreed-on buyout of equity stakes from two longtime ICM execs who are now directors: Sam Cohn and Marvin Josephson, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“We wanted to keep the company private, but with investors who could give us the resources to stay in the deal,” Berg told the Los Angeles Times.
It likely doesn’t hurt that Rizvi is thought of as a rich investor who isn’t interested in tinkering with the business and shuns media attention, according to the paper.
The deal is considered unusual by agency standards, in which ownership is usually concentrated in a tight circle of elite insiders.
“I think having competitive agencies out there is good for everybody,”
ICM once had a client roster that put it on par with
ICM was founded in 1975 with the merger of Creative Management Associates, home of legendary agents Sam Cohn and Sue Mengers, and International Famous Agency.