Movies

WMA, Endeavor merger imminent

MUMBAI: In a pact that is set to change the landscape of talent deal-making, leaders of William Morris Agency (WMA) and Endeavor took a giant leap into showbiz‘s future recently by approving a merger between the two companies.

The board of WMA and partners of Endeavor held separate votes last Monday to give their assent to the merger. The deal will reportedly be put into force next month, uniting 14-year-old Endeavor with 111-year-old WMA. The resulting thrust would have a dramatic affect on the Hollywood landscape, with the joint endeavour becoming a major rival to the two decade old Creative Artiste Agency (CAA).

The new entity will be called William Morris Endeavor (WME) Entertainment once the transaction is completed in the second quarter, subject to customary closing conditions.


But while the merger appears to have been agreed in principle, details are still awaited.
It is being rumoured that Endeavor‘s Ari Emanuel will assume day-to-day control of the merged entity as CEO, while WMA chief executive James Wiatt will take over as chairman. WME will be governed by a nine-member board of directors that will include five from the WMA camp and four from Endeavor.


The combination of WMA and Endeavor will create a mega-agency, the assets of which will extend into virtually every aspect of the entertainment and media business with annual revenues estimated at $325 million.The tie-up, which is still subject to government approval, also creates the largest competitor to CAA.


In addition to the challenges that all deal-making companies are confronting at a time of great change in the entertainment biz, WME‘s leaders will undoubtedly face a formidable task in achieving harmony between the wildly different cultures and backgrounds of the two agencies.


The merger, for which William Morris and Endeavor had been in talks for nearly a year, was driven by the fact that each agency has assets the other coveted.

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