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UTA has made a move to become not just a new literary and talent powerhouse in Hollywood but to supersize itself as a more global agency.
The agency, considered to be behind CAA and WME in terms of scale, is acquiring Curtis Brown Group, the U.K.’s largest literary agency that is home to authors such as Margaret Atwood and the estates of John le Carre and Ian Fleming. It also represents some of the biggest acting names, including Lily James and Alicia Vikander, with its talent subsidiary, Tavistock Wood.
According to the companies, the deal will see London-based Curtis Brown continue to operate under its current name and management, including CEO Jonny Geller. This will allow both UTA and Curtis Brown to continue their fruitful and longstanding relationships with other agency partners in the U.K. and United States.
The deal does, however, make the British agency the biggest representation firm to join a major Hollywood agency and gives UTA a major hold in the literary space as well as the British market, on top of giving the agency an infusion of acting talent.
In announcing the deal, the companies said the union is “driven by a shared desire to ensure greater opportunities for clients across an increasingly global entertainment and culture landscape, in which traditional buyers and distributors such as studios and streaming services are expanding far beyond their home markets.”
The alliance provides Curtis Brown Group with resources to continue to build out its business and the benefit of UTA’s expertise across a wide range of capabilities in such areas as brands, podcasts, digital talent, endorsements, media rights, data analytics and more.
UTA has been on an acquisition spree in recent months, buying strategic advisory firm Medialink for $125 million in December and, this month, snapping up data and analytics company Mediahound.
Curtis Brown has also been growing in recent years, expanding beyond its literary roots into screen talents and filmmaking. It picked up Markham Froggatt & Irwin in 2020, Tavistock Wood in 2018, Ed Victor in 2017 and C&W in 2013.
“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 UTA co-president David Kramer. “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 U.K.’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 U.K., the team they’ve assembled and their company culture. We’re coming together in a way that is designed to ensure Curtis Brown’s business and team — and their way of doing business in the markets they know best — continues to flourish and grow.”
Said Geller: “We have 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 globalized world. We have always prided ourselves on our ability to nurture new talent across all our departments and provide an open and inclusive culture, and we are excited to begin a new chapter in this wonderful company’s 123-year-old history.”
Per the announcement, no staffing reductions are anticipated due to the deal. Curtis Brown has more than 240 employees and is expected to continue to grow. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
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