The year is almost over, but there are still many mergers and acquisitions made from one of the top talent companies.
UTA is acquiring media, entertainment and technology strategy consulting firm MediaLink, with founder and CEO Michael Kassan becoming UTA’s partner. Kassan will remain CEO of MediaLink, which will bring more than 150 of its employees into the company through the acquisition.
UTA has acquired MediaLink from UK-based Ascential PLC for $125 million in cash, the company revealed in a regulatory filing. MediaLink will continue to participate in the Cannes Lion festival, which Ascential also owns.
UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer told The Hollywood Reporter that the “time is right” for a deal, especially with UTA looking to grow its branded business.
“We have been looking for opportunities to continue to grow and it is clear to me that with everything going on in our business, which has long been sponsored by brands, and with the Online becomes such a powerful piece of the pie, brands Zimmer say. “So I felt that there was an opportunity to work with brands in a different way.”
As part of the acquisition, UTA will rename its UTA Marketing division to UTA Entertainment & Culture Marketing, and convert it to MediaLink. UTA Marketing co-heads David Anderson and Julian Jacobs will join Kassan’s executive team, and will continue that division’s focus on the intersection of branding, marketing, and the creative community.
“We have forever described MediaLink as a business at a crossroads. And that intersection is marketing, media, advertising, entertainment and technology,” Kassan told THR. “Needless to say, we can now double-click the entertainment space more than we could have imagined. What UTA has built across the ecosystem with games and sports, music and talent will be a great opportunity for us to reach the brands and tech companies we represent. ”
While not a household name like McKinsey, MediaLink has quietly become one of the most powerful boutique consulting firms in the entertainment and media industries, partnering with brands, tech companies famous and 7 of the top 10 global media companies.
In fact, Kassan said that when he first came up with the idea for the company, he considered partnering with UTA.
“Jeremy and I have been friends for over 20 years, and when I started MediaLink, one of the places where I sat and talked about doing this together was UTA, 17 or 18 years ago,” Kassn said. “For both of us, it’s a full circle that we’re going to do this now.”
The deal highlights what has been a typical year for M&A in the talent agency business.
WME owner Endeavor went public in the spring and simultaneously took full ownership of the UFC. It later acquired sports betting company OpenBet and established a subsidiary that would own and operate minor league baseball teams.
Meanwhile, the CAA announced an agreement to acquire ICM Partners, further consolidating the agency space. That deal prompted Endeavour’s CEO, Ari Emanuel, to say his company was not interested in buying UTA, to which Zimmer jokingly replied that his company was too lucrative for Endeavor to buy.
While UTA has avoided the hypermarkets some competitors have pursued, it has launched a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that raised more than $200 million in an IPO. and is looking to merge with a private company in the game economy or creator space. .
That said, the UTA will continue to be opportunistic.
“We are active in the market, trying to grow with our talents, and are always on the lookout for additional companies and opportunities,” says Zimmer.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.
https://www.billboard.com/pro/uta-buys-medialink/ UTA buys strategic consulting firm MediaLink for $125 million – Billboard