ICM Implosion Stopped: Chris Silbermann Stays, Less Power For Jeff Berg
ICM Part 3: Agency Board & Rizvi Blow Off Silbermann’s Demands
ICM Part 2: Silbermann Forces Decision By Rizvi; Relying On Mike Ovitz
ICM Imploding! Silbermann & Berg Battle For Control

EXCLUSIVE: Insiders are telling me that ICM President Chris Silbermann has completed his management buyout except for the “little legalities”, thus putting an official end to what was a destabilizing period for the agency. The tenpercentery is going to be 100% owned and operated by its agents as soon as the lawyers “put in the periods and semicolons” on the contracts. “This is truly exciting to be able to say to agents, ‘You’re going to own your company.'” It will emphasize ICM’s entrepreneurial culture and begin an expansion,” a source tells me. I understand that some agents are going to be exiting as a result. (“Those agents not asked to be partner will take it personally,” one of my sources explains.) Now it’s a waiting game to see who stays and who goes. (I’ll report only confirmed names, not rumored.) ICM so far has announced no details about this restructuring. Silbermann’s goal over the past year has been to take over the tenpercentery and obtain more ownership of the agency from its major investor: Connecticut-based Rizvi Traverse Management which has owned 40% of ICM. After some very difficult months behind the scenes and then played out in public, Suhail Rizvi eventually decided to play ball with Silbermann’s demands — or face the threat that his senior TV agents might walk out of the tenpercentery. Assisting Silbermann in this power play was Rick Levy, ICM’s Chief Business Development Officer & General Counsel who was a longtime confidante to ICM Chairman/CEO Jeff Berg until this buyout plan was hatched. I understand that Berg’s ownership of ICM also is being bought out and he has been offered to continue at the agency as Chairman Emeritus.

Though there was friction between Berg and Silbermann beginning in April 2011, ICM’s crisis didn’t reach the implosion point until last November when Silbermann confided to senior staff that he was leaving with several key ICM execs and starting his own Hollywood TV agency. In no time the buzz was all over the tenpercentery. That also meant it reached the ears of Rizvi Traverse Management which since 2005 has owned a sizeable stake in the full-service ICM. Immediately, Suhail Rizvi personally confronted Silbermann and asked if the ICM No. 2 exec was leaving or not. Silbermann denied everything, claiming that he’d never said it, that it was just a rumor, and that he was going nowhere. But the fact is that, for months, Silbermann, the former Broder Webb Chervin Silbermann Agency partner turned Berg heir apparent, has been loudly and regularly threatening to leave ICM unless he got what he wanted. Both agency chiefs had been seeking their own financing to buy out the other and take over the agency and reduce Rizvi’s stake. The infighting tore apart ICM internally to the point where Silbermann regularly called secret meetings and pointedly didn’t invite Berg. While Berg called secret meetings with Rizvi and pointedly didn’t invite Silbermann. At one point, Silbermann became enveloped in a paranoid panic, convinced that his ouster from ICM was imminent and orchestrated by Berg and Rizvi when it wasn’t. In fact Berg tried repeatedly to find a way for them all to continue to work together and appealed to Rizvi to calm the situation. For a long while, Rizvi was unwilling to take sides in the disputes.

Clients especially hate hearing about discord inside their tenpercenteries. And rival agencies used the news of ICM’s internal strife to try to poach the most profitable talent. ICM makes money, a lot of it, even though ICM’s movie department has struggled publicly for some time. And although ICM’s TV department placed last behind WME, CAA, and UTA in the numbers of major agency packages on new series ordered by the broadcast networks for 2011/2012, ICM is faring much better getting pilots ordered for this development season. For awhile, a steady stream of ICM motion picture lit agents exited to UTA. (There was even an idea at one point taking shape within the Berg camp for ICM to merge with United Talent. Silbermann opposed any merger talk.)

anonmous.
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2 years
There is no managment buyout in the works.. If that were true, every agent involved would have...
question
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2 years
so who in the lit group is good now?
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2 years
there were down two lit agents because mickey and josh bolted. they knew silbermann couldn't run an...

ICM IMPLOSION ENDS: Chris Silbermann Will Stay With More Power
ICM Part 3: Agency Board & Rizvi Blow Off Silbermann’s Demands
ICM Part 2: Silbermann Forces Decision By Rizvi; Relying On Mike Ovitz

ICM Imploding! Silbermann & Berg Battle For Control