ICM’s Financial Shift

By all accounts, ICM will return to being a partner-owned agency at the beginning of 2012.

ICM has been majority-owned by private equity company Rizvi Traverse Management, which put $75 million into ICM in 2005. It was the first deal of its kind in Hollywood talent agency history, as noted by Variety. The deal was brokered by longtime ICM chairman Jeff Berg, who used the money to purchase Broder Webb Chervin Silbermann. That turned into a profitable venture, with ICM acquiring a powerful agency with a strong list of literary clients and bringing on board president Chris Silbermann.

Meanwhile, Rizvi Traverse has apparently seen a return on its investment, with ICM landing several lucrative TV packages from “Two and a Half Men” to “Modern Family.”

Now Rizvi has agreed to what is being called a “transfer of ownership,” and the shift is expected to usher in a “younger generation” of management at ICM because Silbermann is in his early 40s, according to the Los Angeles Times. Berg has helmed the company for three decades.

Insiders told Variety the deal is not a buyout because Rizvi will still receive plenty of lucre from the television receivables.

Also, this is said to be anything but a shift in the power paradigm – Berg and Silbermann are still running the show, but Silbermann will likely have more of an elevated stature.

However, sources told Pollstar that much of the “power struggle” verbiage that has appeared in some media was overplayed to grab headlines and in some cases, scenarios were made up out of whole cloth. In fact, sources told Variety that this deal would not have gone through without Berg’s willing involvement.

“Our primary objective always has been to remain highly competitive as we turn to the next generation of leaders at our agency,” Silbermann and Berg said to staffers in an email. “We are confident this new partnership will position the agency, its clients and employees well for the future.”