UTA has acquired the Curtis Brown Group, the UK literary and talent agency that reps authors including Margaret Atwood, the literary estates of Ian Fleming and others as well as a roster of film and TV clients.
The deal follows the 2020 combination of Curtis Brown and former rival Markham Froggatt and Irwin. Previously, the firm had grown through the acquisitions of Tavistock Wood in 2018, Ed Victor in 2017 and C&W in 2013.
The companies have had a history of working together on projects involving Damian Lewis, Lily James, Alicia Vikander and Bel Powley, as well as rising star Ncuti Gatwa, just named by the BBC as the next Dr. Who. They also share representation of screenwriters including David Farr (The Night Manager, Hanna), Georgia Pritchett (Succession, Veep and The Shrink Next Door), and Tony Roche (Succession, The Thick of It). Curtis Brown shares with other agencies the representation of clients including Robert Pattinson.
Under the terms of the deal, London-based Curtis Brown, founded in 1899, will continue to operate under its current name and management, including CEO Jonny Geller. The structure will allow both Curtis Brown Group and UTA to continue to maintain ties with other agency partners in the UK and U.S.
In announcing the deal, UTA said Curtis Brown is the first prominent UK literary and talent representation group to join with a major global talent agency. The aim of the transaction will be to connect the UK firm, which has more than 240 employees, with UTA’s resources in areas like brands, podcasts, digital talent, endorsements, media rights and data analytics. No staff cuts are expected as a result of the deal, the companies said. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Curtis Brown’s roster of authors includes Atwood, Jojo Moyes, Lucy Foley, Lisa Jewell, Matt Haig, Nigella Lawson, and Ben Macintyre. It also reps the literary estates of Ian Fleming, John le Carré, Daphne du Maurier, A.A. Milne and John Steinbeck.
Along with publishing, its client list includes a range of actors, presenters, comedians, and other performers, along with a robust theatre, film and television department.
For UTA, founded in 1991, the move is the latest in a series of moves to increase its scale. In 2019, the company took a significant stake in Klutch Sports Group, and two years later acquired MediaLink.
“This move is about the vanishing borders of the global entertainment business and our united determination to ensure artists and creators remain at the heart of the opportunities ahead,” said David Kramer, Co-President of UTA, in the official announcement. “UTA and Curtis Brown Group have known each other and worked together for years, and we couldn’t be more excited to be taking this step together at a time when the UK’s creative industries are thriving. For UTA, this was driven by the profound respect we have for the Curtis Brown leadership, their deep roots in the UK, the team they’ve assembled, and their company culture.”
Geller said Curtis Brown has “long admired UTA under the leadership of David Kramer and its CEO, Jeremy Zimmer. Curtis Brown’s deep understanding of the European market combined with their culture of collaboration and innovation offers our company and our clients many great opportunities. This partnership will allow Curtis Brown to grow and to respond to the demands of an increasingly globalised world.
Jeremy Zimmer, Co-Founder and CEO of UTA, said Curtis Brown “has been synonymous with great storytelling and rigorous artist representation for more than a century. We are thrilled to align with such a great team. As the world of media grows and contorts, UTA is looking for great partnerships to drive our growth. In Curtis Brown, we believe we have found just such a partnership.”