UPDATED with more details: Rumors that negotiations have been underway for UTA to acquire fellow Hollywood agency Paradigm have been circulating for weeks around town, but sources close to the situation tell Deadline there is no deal.
Hollywood is a town that runs on rumors, but even by those standards this has been a monster one that caught on like wildfire this week. Everyone has been talking about the potential mega-merger; it got to a point that intel was circulated about an announcement coming Monday and about Paradigm agents allegedly inquiring about jobs at other agencies in anticipation of an acquisition.
Both sides have kicked the tires on a merger, which would have some logic to it, as it would wed Paradigm’s strong music division with UTA, for example, and UTA has raised money to be able to do just this kind of thing. Buzz also likely has grown since Endeavor announced recently it was planning an IPO that would see the parent company of WME go public, ratcheting up the idea that consolidation is one path to keeping up with the joneses.
UTA is part of the Big 4 agencies along with WME, CAA and ICM Partners. The latest swirl comes as all four are being sued by the WGA as part of the ongoing fight with the Association of Talent Agencies over a new franchise agreement.
Those talks resumed today with the focus on two key issues — agency packaging and affiliate production. In fact, UTA’s co-president Jay Sures was one of the catalysts in the restart of negotiations after personally reaching out to WGA West president David A. Goodman.
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