The Year In Agencies: Acquisitions & New Moves

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 28: The Creative Artists Agency (CAA) logo is displayed outside their headquarters on June 28, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. CAA has acquired rival ICM Partners in a move predicted to transform the Hollywood talent agency industry. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As 2022 winds down, the impacts of this year in talent agencies will continue well into next year. While business as usual was conducted with major shuffles and big promotions in music departments, the biggest news to come out of 2022 was the finalization of CAA’s acquisition of ICM Partners. The deal, reportedly valued at $750 million, closed June 28, with the second half of this year’s agency news largely seeing numerous shuffles as former ICM music staff found new homes – either at CAA, or elsewhere.

“Our diverse range of clients who entertain and inspire global audiences have never been in more demand, nor have their opportunities been greater,” CAA’s Co-Chairmen, Kevin Huvane, Bryan Lourd and Richard Lovette, said in a statement at the time. 

“With today’s addition of our new colleagues, the scope of possibilities for helping clients achieve their goals is endless.” 

The acquisition of ICM Partners had been the largest of its kind since WMA and Endeavor merged in 2009, creating WME. CAA initially aimed to finalize the deal back in 2021; however, a 10-month delay seeking regulatory approval led to a postponement. 

Robert Gibbs, who made history back in 2021 when he was named the first Black executive to helm a major agency’s music department when he became ICM Partners’ Head of Music, moved over to UTA, where he now serves as a Partner and co-heads the company’s Atlanta office alongside Rich Paul, Arthur Lewis and Steve Cohen.

“Robert’s experience in the industry, combined with his enthusiasm to help us build in Atlanta, make him the perfect choice to join UTA and our leadership team there,” UTA’s CEO, Jeremy Zimmer, said in a statement at the time. 

Chris Smith also moved over from ICM Partners to join APA, where he now works as the senior vice president of Global Concerts & Talent. Josh Lanham, comedy agent and coordinator, also joined Smith at APA. 

Meanwhile, Jenna Park Adler moved up CAA’s company ladder as she was named co-head of global Hip-Hop and R&B touring, where she now serves alongside existing Co-Head Mark Cheatham. 

Park Adler first joined CAA back in 1990, and the past few years she’s been instrumental in putting together the Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy-topped “Hella Mega Tour,” as well as jumpstarting  Doja Cat’s career and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. 

“Jenna’s an undeniable force in the business and an invaluable member of the CAA team, brilliantly delivering for artists across genres,” CAA Co-Head of North American Music Darryl Eaton said in a statement at the time. “Mark and Jenna bring an incredible level of energy, experience and strategic vision to our industry-leading Hip-Hop/R&B group. Under their leadership, the future is very bright.” 

In April, Wasserman finalized its acquisition of Paradigm’s UK live music arm after the agency acquired Paradigm Talent Agency’s North American live music business in April 2021. November also saw Wasserman continue its expansion. The company opened a new office in New York City, located in the DUMBO neighborhood in Brooklyn. With the new office, Wasserman now has more than 40 locations worldwide, including in Los Angeles, London, Nashville, Chicago, Toronto and more. 

WME also had a major year of changes. In August, Lucy Dickins, who first joined WME back in 2019 as the head of the UK music division, was named the new Global Head of Contemporary Music and Touring at the agency. 

“Lucy is a dynamic leader who brings strategic vision, energy and passion to every artist and colleague she encounters,” Lloyd Braun, Chairman of WME and President of Endeavor Client Group, said in a statement at the time of Dickens’ promotion. “Lucy is the ideal leader to guide WME’s contemporary music business as we continue to expand our offerings and opportunities for our clients.”

Snoop Dogg then joined WME in November, signing with the agency in all areas. He said in a statement that “WME is the only place that can handle the career I’ve built and grow it even further.” 

In November, boutique booking agency Arrival Artists joined forces with ATC Management to launch companyx, which will serve as a brand agency for its two parent companies. Mara Frankel was named CEO of the new company.