Paradigm CEO Breaks Silence on UTA Rumors: "No Deal"

Annie Shak
Paradigm chairman Sam Gores

Sam Gores said that he has shut down talks about an acquisition by UTA.

After several weeks of increasing murmurs about a possible acquisition by UTA, Paradigm chairman and CEO Sam Gores firmly put rumors to rest in an email sent to the agency Sunday afternoon.

In it, he explained that UTA had indeed made an offer to acquire Paradigm, one that "would have represented one of the largest talent agency transactions in the history of our business." The offer was, as suspected, for the talent/literary and music divisions. The latter is a particular strength of Paradigm's, representing top artists including Janelle Monae, Imagine Dragons, Kacey Musgraves, Shawn Mendes and Zedd, among many more.

But "after careful consideration and in consultation with leaders of both the Music and Talent/Literary executive groups, I have made the decision to shut down discussions and not make this deal," Gores wrote.

"We admire Sam and the business he and his colleagues have built," UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer said in a statement shortly after Gores' email was disseminated. "We are disappointed we didn't come to an agreement. But we wish him and everyone at Paradigm the best."

It isn't the first time the two agencies have discussed some sort of possible merger or acquisition — occasional conversations have taken place as far back as a decade ago, as reported in the trades. But recent agitation in the agency world — the two-months-and-counting dispute with the WGA over packaging fees and affiliate production and Endeavor angling to become the first publicly traded talent agency — intensified the pitch, and paranoia, around the latest talks, a factor that Gores referenced in his email.

"I want to address the events of the past week and the press reports," he wrote. "Our industry is in an era of significant change and also unprecedented opportunity. The complexion of what the agency business will look like has led all of the major agencies including ourselves to look at ways to strengthen their platforms and provide more resources to clients."

Ultimately, Gores decided to end talks not because of unfavorable deal terms, a source close to the matter tells The Hollywood Reporter, but in order to shut down speculation as the two parties were still far from closing a deal. "There are reasons why a combination like this would have made sense for both agencies," he wrote, "but in the end, what is more compelling for us is how unique the culture at Paradigm is and how powerful our independent path can be."

The full email is below.

Dear Colleagues:

I want to address the events of the past week and the press reports surrounding a potential transaction between Paradigm and UTA.

The fact is that our industry is in an era of significant change and also unprecedented opportunity.

The complexion of what the agency business will look like has led all of the major agencies including ourselves to look at ways to strengthen their platforms and provide more resources to clients.

UTA made an offer to acquire Paradigm that would have represented one of the largest talent agency transactions in the history of our business.

The offer was made for both the Talent/Literary and Music divisions. This offer is a tribute to the work that all of us have done and the quality of the asset we have created together.

After careful consideration and in consultation with leaders of both the Music and Talent/Literary executive groups, I have made the decision to shut down discussions and not make this deal.

There are reasons why a combination like this would have made sense for both agencies, but in the end, what is more compelling for us is how unique the culture at Paradigm is and how powerful our independent path can be. 

For obvious reasons, it is not possible to communicate with the entire company when a conversation like this occurs. Those who know me and the history of how we have built Paradigm know that I always make decisions regarding the future of the business by considering what is ultimately in the best interest of our agency as a whole and all of our clients.

The past week has given us the opportunity to make us stronger both internally and externally. We should be proud of what we have built and be proud of our courage to bet on ourselves.

Let’s all get back to work and continue to do what we do so well.

For the Art For the Artist.

Sam

June 9, 4:47 p.m. Updated with response from UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer.