UPDATED: The WMA-Endeavor merger is back on the frontburner, and all systems are go. In fact, I’m told that one of the last remaining roadblocks has been passed successfully: Endeavor has “put its best foot forward” in terms of numbers and terms to Morris and offered to place “pencils down” if WMA “can live” with them. So the two agencies’ principals are back chatting after a quiet time. “I think it’s a good sign. But there’s hard bargaining trying to put this through.” So there’s still a lot more to decide. (Despite what the assistant boards are saying about the deal being done, or the phone calls from rival agencies to me about the press release being written). Meanwhile, the senior WMA guys at all these meetings are telling Hollywood they’ve won the merger naming war: “It will be ‘William Morris’ for sure because of the international branding recognition,” one of them is claiming. (“William Morris Endeavor” has a nice ring to it…) Now, even the WMA side is acknowledging “a ton of people” in the agency will be laid off because of the merger. As for Endeavor, not that many. Meanwhile, WMA boss Jim Wiatt is boasting to pals, “This merger’s happening. I’m going to run it. And Ari’s going to work for me.” Obviously, Wiatt is deluded. He’ll have the title but no power. Or maybe he thinks if he says it enough times to outsiders, he can make people think he’s a leader. (But if he was, then why does WMA need this merger so badly?) Finally, I hear this deal won’t be announced until everything is locked down. The beginning of May at the earliest.
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