Endeavor Buys Harry Walker Agency, Restructures Speakers Division

Endeavor HWE WME Speakers - H - 2019
Getty/Harry Walker Agency/Endeavor

WME Speakers will be folded into the newly acquired company, which will operate as an independent affiliate.

As it pivots from its scuttled plan for an initial public offering, Endeavor Group Holdings is restructuring its speakers division and acquiring a venerable speakers agency. 

The Beverly Hills-based conglomerate said Friday that it has bought the Harry Walker Agency (HWA), which will keep operating as an independent division. Additionally, WME Speakers will be folded into the newly acquired company.

HWA's leadership, president Don Walker and managing director Ellen Kazis-Walker, will lead the combined division. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Endeavor also didn't specify whether there will be staff reductions as the two speakers divisions merge. 

"The Harry Walker Agency has been the gold standard for almost 75 years," stated Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel. "Their standard of excellence has long been imitated, but never replicated, and we’re proud to welcome them to the Endeavor family."

The new expansion into the event speaker business arrives weeks after Endeavor — which also owns IMG, Endeavor Content studio, MMA company UFC and PBR (Professional Bull Riders), among other varied assets — dropped its plans to go public formally on Oct. 16. 

The HWA acquisition follows on the heels of Endeavor's Nov. 6 move to bring aboard former ABC Entertainment chief Lloyd Braun to run its representation and management business and invest in his digital media company Whalerock Industries. 

"In joining forces with WME, we're able to create more opportunities for our speakers across the broad gamut of the marketplace of ideas, including books, podcasts and television," read a joint statement from Walker and Kazis-Walker. "We will now offer event planners a broader array of speakers across television, sports, film, music and media."

HWA, founded in 1946, counts a number of notable political, business and entertainment industry figures on its client list. It lists its exclusive speakers as former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former first lady Michelle Obama. Hollywood clients include Bono, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, Gloria Steinem and Ronan Farrow. 

Meanwhile, WME Speakers currently features Ben Affleck, Serena Williams, Tamron Hall, Michael B. Jordan and John Legend, among others. WME president Ari Greenburg noted of the acquisition, "HWA and their speakers will now benefit from the global reach and resources of WME and the broader Endeavor network."