United Talent Agency and EQT Private Equity announce strategic partnership
Top Global Investment Firm to Become UTA’s Largest Outside Shareholder
Move Will Further Accelerate UTA’s Growth Trajectory
BEVERLY HILLS, CA and NEW YORK, NY (July 18, 2022) – Leading global talent, entertainment and sports company, United Talent Agency (UTA or the company), and global investment organization, EQT, today announced that the EQT X fund (EQT Private Equity) has agreed to become a strategic investor in UTA. The move recognizes UTA’s artist-first approach and recent growth trajectory and will help fuel the next phase of investments in talent, innovation and international expansion.
Under the transaction, the UTA partnership and leadership continue to hold the controlling interest in the company, with EQT becoming the largest outside shareholder. As part of the transaction, Investcorp, a global alternative investment firm, which invested in UTA in 2018, will sell its full minority stake to EQT, and EQT will also purchase a portion of existing stakes from continuing shareholders including PSP Investments.
Co-founded in 1991 by CEO Jeremy Zimmer, UTA represents iconic talent across a broad range of categories including TV, film, music, sports, digital media, publishing, podcasts, and more. It also provides advisory and marketing services to leading global brands. UTA has undergone a dramatic strategic expansion over the past few years, including the acquisition of top European publishing and talent agency, The Curtis Brown Group, in June of this year, and the purchase of MediaLink, the leading strategic advisory firm for entertainment and media companies, in December 2021. The company also vaulted into the upper echelon of sports representation through its 2019 strategic investment in KLUTCH Sports Group. Over four years, the number of employees at the company has almost doubled to nearly 1,900 employees.
Media and entertainment continue to benefit from long-term tailwinds such as increased content distribution platforms, including streaming and the globalization of content and fandom. UTA sits at the nexus, uniting ideas, opportunities, and talent across its growing platform of capabilities. With this new partnership, EQT’s financial resources, expertise in capital markets, in-house digital team and global footprint will support UTA’s continued growth plans, further accelerating growth through investments in its core businesses as well as expansion into adjacent opportunities.
Jeremy Zimmer, CEO of UTA, said, “EQT is the perfect partner for UTA’s next phase of growth. They have deep international capabilities, a strong balance sheet, and most importantly they truly appreciate and respect the culture that we have built at UTA. David Kramer and I led this process, and we made sure to listen to our instincts about who we felt would really help us drive growth while protecting our culture. We believe that we found the right partner to maintain that balance.”
Kasper Knokgaard, EQT Partner and Global Head of the Services Sector Team, said, “EQT invests in industry leading platforms that are well situated for strong and sustained growth across economic cycles, are aligned with our values, and where we know we can create significant value - UTA checks all the boxes. We are excited to partner with Jeremy Zimmer and the entire team to accelerate UTA’s growth trajectory and enable more opportunities across entertainment and media.”
Dave Tayeh, Head of Private Equity – North America at Investcorp, said, “Our investment in UTA was highly successful and we are proud to have partnered with the UTA team as they achieved exceptional growth over the past four years. The company has strengthened its position as a market leader and we wish the team and EQT continued success.”
Martin Longchamps, Managing Director, Head of Origination and Execution at PSP Investments, said, "Since our original investment in 2018, PSP Investments and Investcorp have been working closely with Jeremy Zimmer and his management team to continue to strengthen UTA’s exceptional market position. During this time, UTA has proven its abilities to perform, innovate and diversify as a leading entertainment company. We are excited to continue this journey with UTA and to welcome EQT. Together, we will be a driving force in supporting UTA’s long-term growth.”
The transaction is expected to close later this month.
UTA was advised by Moelis & Company (exclusive financial advisor) and Skadden Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP (legal). EQT Private Equity was advised by Weil, Gotshal & Manges (legal) and Bain & Company (commercial).
With the investment in UTA, EQT X (target fund size of EUR 20.0 billion and hard cap of EUR 21.5 billion) will be 5-10 percent invested based on its target fund size. EQT X will be activated and start charging management fees upon the closing of its first transaction, currently expected to be the closing of the investment in UTA. EQT IX is currently 85-90 percent invested and continues to be in its commitment period but management fees will, following activation of EQT X, be based on net invested capital.
Richard Siklos, Richard.Siklos@unitedtalent.com, 310-385-2800
Stephanie Greengarten, firstname.lastname@example.org, +46 8 506 55 334