Paradigm Eyes Spinoff With Close-to-Home Backers

Annie Shak
Paradigm chairman Sam Gores.

Several deep-pocketed investors are eyeing its music division.

As billionaire Tom Gores' investment vehicle takes an ownership stake in Paradigm, more change may be coming to the financially challenged agency as several deep-pocketed investors eye its music division, including Casey Wasserman and Ron Burkle, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

Sources close to the negotiations say Wasserman, Burkle and Tom Gores would be partners in a spun-off entity, but Wasserman — whose titular agency is second only to CAA in the sports representation space — would have operational control because of the structure of the deal.

Paradigm boasts an expansive music roster — including Billie Eilish, Coldplay, Kacey Musgraves and Imagine Dragons — after years of buying boutique firms. But that side of the representation business has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has brought live music to a halt.

Burkle, who is already in business with Paradigm via U.K. and European music businesses including Coda and X-ray Touring, is currently owed some $5 million from Paradigm, according to a source, and, if unpaid, it would revert to an ownership stake in the agency. Paradigm declined comment. 

The trio have deep ties. Wasserman was a former intern at Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies. And Burkle is a longtime friend of the Gores brothers. Burkle, himself, is already invested heavily in the representation space with stakes in the U.K.-based Independent Talent Group, with clients including Daniel Craig and Felicity Jones, and Independent Sports & Entertainment, with a roster that includes baseball stars Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander. He also has an investment in Rick Yorn’s LBI, the management company behind Leonardo DiCaprio.

Tom Gores, chairman and CEO of investment firm Platinum Equity and owner of the Detroit Pistons, has a net worth estimated at $4.65 billion, per Bloomberg's Billionaires Index as of June 7. 

A version of this story first appeared in the June 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.