UTA has just became a headliner in the music talent business by acquiring The Agency Group, the largest independent. In conjunction with the deal, activist hedge fund manager Jeffrey Ubben of ValueAct Capital Management made a personal minority investment in UTA joining the board as a non-voting member.
After adding TAG to UTA’s music business, the agency’s client list includes household names such as Kanye West, Mariah Carey, The Black Keys, Nickelback, Guns ‘N Roses, Ringo Starr, Dolly Parton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kevin Costner & Modern West, Hanson, Boy George, George Benson, Deep Purple, Merle Haggard and Rush.
The companies say that TAG’s clients now will have better opportunities to make deals in digital content, movies, TV, video games, books, branding, licensing and speaking engagements.
Neil Warnock, who founded TAG 35 years ago, will run worldwide music for UTA, reporting to the managing directors. His company’s CEO, Gavin O’Reilly, “will be departing the company,” according to today’s announcement.
“Neil and his team love music and love their clients,” UTA chief Jeremy Zimmer and Managing Directors David Kramer and Jay Sures say in a joint statement. “They care deeply about being able to provide full-service representation, which is a desire that perfectly reflects our values.”
TAG has more than 95 agents in seven offices: London, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, Toronto and Malmo, Sweden.
Ubben’s investment “will provide growth capital and help fund strategic initiatives such as The Agency Group acquisition,” UTA says.
The agency is “making aggressive strategic investments across the media landscape,” Ubben says. “I am excited to be able to invest in such a high energy organization.”
Last year UTA bought broadcast news and reality TV talent agency Bienstock. It expanded last year into contemporary art with UTA Fine Arts; forged brand strategy firm UTA Brand Studio; and it created UTA Venture Fund, which specializes in start-ups and early stage companies.