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Watch out, Ari! UTA takes on new strategic investors

UTA joins the ranks of Hollywood entities ramping up its ambitions amid the transformation taking place in the media and entertainment businesses.

Watch out, Ari! UTA takes on new strategic investors
UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer [Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Chrysalis]

United Talent Agency is beefing up. On Tuesday, the Hollywood talent agency announced that it was bringing on two new, strategic investors, Investcorp and Public Sector Pension Board (PSP Investments), signaling a significant transformation for the agency, which represents stars like Angelina Jolie and Judd Apatow. The move positions the agency closer to rivals CAA and Endeavor, both of which have taken on major investment partners in recent years as a way to diversify their businesses beyond talent representation and into media production, ownership, and investment.

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Knowledgable sources say the combined investment amounts to about a 40% stake in UTA, which is valued at around $700 million. Investcorp and PSP Investments are not UTA’s first outside investors–Jeffrey Ubben is an existing investor–but this mark the first time that the company is partnering with major, global investment players as a way to propel itself forward in a fast-changing entertainment landscape.

UTA has been quietly growing in recent years, doubling in size to over 900 employees, and expanding into corporate representation with such clients as Coca-Cola, GM, and Lyft. The company has also been on an acquisition spree, buying the news and broadcast agency N.S. Bienstock; the music touring company The Agency Group; the live speaking agency Greater Talent Network; and the e-sports companies PressX and Everyday Influencers.

With its new resources, this growth is expected to accelerate. Employees will also benefit from the cash infusion. Sources say all UTA employees will receive a check of some size as way to share in the success of the company.

“This is a transformative event for UTA,” says UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer in a release. “There has never been a greater moment of change and opportunity in our industry for artists, creators, and companies like ours. We were deliberate about finding the right investment partners who recognize UTA as a business that puts clients first, exemplifies a collaborative and diverse culture, and is focused long term on capitalizing on the unique opportunities that disruption and transformation provide.”

The takeaway: Don’t call UTA a boutique Hollywood talent agency anymore. Use it in the same breath as CAA and WME. In other words: Watch out, Ari!

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About the author

Nicole LaPorte is an LA-based senior writer for Fast Company who writes about where technology and entertainment intersect. She previously was a columnist for The New York Times and a staff writer for Newsweek/The Daily Beast and Variety

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