Finishing touches

WME Entertainment awaits boards' approval

The WMA-Endeavor mating dance is expected to reach its climax this week, with the agencies voting to approve a merger as early as today.

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, 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. (partialdiff)