WMA-Endeavor merger on verge of vote
WME Entertainment tops on list of potential monikersThe WMA-Endeavor mating dance is expected to reach its climax this week, with the agencies voting to approve a merger as early as Monday.
The new entity also is expected to sport a new moniker -- WME Entertainment currently tops the list -- that draws from both current names but gives the larger William Morris first billing, albeit in abbreviated form.
Although neither company has formally approved the merger, Endeavor's 28 partners and WMA's 20-person board discussed the proposed merger separately last week and are poised to take votes on it this week.
The new outfit is expected to have a nine-person board, with WMA putting forward five members and Endeavor four.
Ari Emanuel, Patrick Whitesell, Rick Rosen and Adam Venit are on tap to join the new board from the Endeavor side. For WMA, the betting is that the new board will include Jim Wiatt, David Wirtschafter, John Fogelman, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh and Peter Grosslight, who reps WMA's extensive music business.
At this point, the final approval appears to be an easier sell on the Endeavor side than at WMA, where 15 board members will be giving up their seats under the new structure, a situation that is believed to have racheted up last-minute discussions there.
Beyond agreeing to the pact, there will be fine print to complete before the new agency opens its doors. For example, it will have to file with the California Labor Commissioner, which licenses talent agencies in the state.