Reports: TAG, UTA In Merger Talks

The Agency Group is reported to be in talks to be acquired by United Talent Agency, primarily a TV and film agency that less than five months ago bulked up its comedy division largely at Creative Artists Agency’s expense. At the same time, TAG was shuffling and expanding its own decks, with additions and departures of several execs and agents.

If the deal is made, it could be a win-win for the parties: UTA will be well-positioned as a major music agency with the addition of worldwide TAG offices, more than 90 agents and 2,300 artists (including authors).  The Agency Group, on the other hand, would gain the expanded platform that a full-service agency like UTA provides.

The Agency Group was founded in 1981 by Neil Warnock, who has worked with live icons including: The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and Michael Jackson. He won Pollstar’s UK Booking Agent of the Year in 2006-08 and 2011-12.

Among its massive roster are artists including David Gilmour, The Black Keys, Dolly Parton, Ringo Starr, Merle Haggard, Rush, Guns ‘N Roses, Muse, Paramore, Nickelback, Foster the People, Lynyrd Skynyrd, UB40, Sergio Mendes, Status Quo, Bullet for My Valentine, City and Colour, Boy George, and Rodriguez among many others.

United Talent Agency primarily reps film and TV performers, but a deal with TAG could replenish its stock in music, which took a big hit in April with the departures of Rob Prinz and Nikki Wheeler. At the same time, about a dozen comedy agents from CAA defected to UTA.

Consolidation seems to be in the air, with the word of UTA/TAG merger talks coming shortly after the partnership between Paradigm and The Windish Agency was announced.

An acquisition of TAG would also position UTA in the same rare air as CAA, with which it currently is sparring in court over the April defections, and WME, which last year acquired mega-sports agency IMG.

Neither phone calls nor emails to the respective execs or their communications directors by Pollstar were immediately returned.