Electus Buys Management Firm Principato-Young as Co-Founder Paul Young Exits

Paul Young Peter Principato Split - H Getty 2017
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The move ends the 17-year marriage between the manager-producer and his partner, Peter Principato, who has signed a long-term deal and will become president and CEO of the company.

After 17 years as one half of Principato-Young Entertainment, Paul Young is exiting the management and production company to start his own venture, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

The split was amicable and long in the works as Young has been spending less time on the day-to-day running of the management company and its productions.

Meanwhile, Electus has taken a majority stake in Principato-Young, which likely will rebrand following Young's exit. As part of the deal, Principato has signed a long-term deal and will become president and CEO of the company and will work closely with Electus’ CEO Chris Grant and COO Drew Buckley. 

The move by Electus signals its interest in broadening its focus beyond digital and TV and into the traditional backbone of Hollywood: representation. Electus, a producer on Jane the Virgin, is financed by Barry Diller’s IAC, which recently scrapped plans for its Vimeo to launch a subscription VOD service. Hollywood management companies are seen as a solid investment given their stable cash flows and growth potential. Over the past three years, Principato-Young has been frequently rumored as a target for a merger with another high-profile management company.

“I will be forever appreciative and proud of the 17 incredible years Paul and I worked together to build this company," Principato said Monday in a statement. "I am very excited about this next phase of PYE. We have an unbelievably talented and passionate group of industry leaders on our team. Together, with Electus, we will continue to build and grow our business in order to be the very best on behalf of our uniquely original clients.”

Added Young: “I am incredibly grateful to have been Peter’s partner for seventeen years. We worked with amazing people to build this company, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I will miss them, and I can’t wait to watch their future success.”

Principato and Young set up shop in 2000, using seed money from Young’s spec sale of Just Like a Woman to New Line and a loan from Principato’s father. Over the years, the company has become an industry force in the comedy space, repping such talent as directors Jordan Peele and F. Gary Gray, Oscar-winning writer Nat Faxon and actors Will Arnett and Kate McKinnon. After Young, a former Paramount executive, merged his business with onetime agent Principato, the two began pushing aggressively into comedy and beyond. As producers, the company helped spawn such films as Reno 911!: Miami, Keanu and, most recently, Central Intelligence. On the TV front, where they are even more active, Principato-Young has produced series including Black-ish, Key and Peele and the long-running Reno 911!

Young takes with him to his new company clients including Oscar-winner Justin Hurwitz (La La Land, Curb Your Enthusiasm), Diane Ruggiero (iZombie, Veronica Mars), Jessie Kahnweiler, Don D. Scott (Barbershop), Dan Lagana (American Vandal), Joan Scheckel (Transparent), Kevin Napier (The Station), The Olde Money Boyz (Snatchers), Josh Feldman and Shoshannah Stern (The Chances), John Lehr and Nancy Hower (Quick Draw), Mark Cope and Carlo Moss (The Most Popular Girls in School) and writer-performers Calum Worthy and Miles Fisher.

Young’s new venture will produce original content through a close collaboration with artists, and he already has a number of projects entering production including AMC/Sundance Now's The Chances, which marks the first-ever TV series created by deaf artists, and Kahnweiler’s bulimia-themed series The Skinny at Hulu.

“I’m obsessed with telling stories that haven’t been told before," said Young.

In the fall, he will executive produce the second season of Snatchers for Warner Bros.’ Stage 13 and Go90. Young will continue to collaborate with PYE on projects including Campus Ladies for Universal Cable Prods. alongside Principato and PYE’s Brian Dobbins, who also is an executive producer.

“From scripted to unscripted, across all platforms, serving and creating opportunities for talent is at the heart of Electus," Grant and Buckley said in a joint statement. "We are thrilled to expand our partnership with PYE as we collaborate to create innovative content for a global marketplace. We thank Paul Young for his many contributions to the exceptional company he co-founded, and wish him the very best in his next chapter. All of us at Electus are excited for what’s next as we continue working with Peter Principato and the fantastic partners, managers and clients of PYE.”