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United Talent Agency secures private equity investment from EQT

Jul 19, 2022
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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

For United Talent Agency, it's out with Investcorp, in with EQT. The LA-based agency has swapped one non-U.S. private equity investor for another.

  • What EQT has up its sleeve in terms of how the firm will use its leveraged buyout talents to drive growth remains to be seen.

Why it matters: The agreement comes on the heels of CAA's acquisition of ICM Partners and at a time when dealmaking is heating up across the industry, amid stiff competition between the Big 3 and smaller agencies.

Zoom in: As Axios' Tim Baysinger presciently wrote last month, UTA needed to make moves "to stay in the game" as it became "a very distant third behind the supersized CAA and Ari Emanuel's Endeavor."

Details: EQT's investment is technically known in the private equity world as a secondary deal, which is when a PE firm trades places with another.

  • As part of the deal, EQT is acquiring the full minority stake held by Bahrain-based Investcorp, which first invested in UTA in 2018. EQT is also buying part of the company's stakes held by Canadian pension fund investor PSP and other shareholders.
  • Investcorp invests across the globe, U.S. included, and this investment was managed by its U.S. investment team. Investcorp's largest global office is New York, having been previously listed in Bahrain.
  • Financial details were not disclosed. EQT said its purchase is coming through its €20 billion Fund X.
  • EQT is now the largest outside shareholder in the company. UTA partnership and leadership will continue to hold a controlling interest.

Of note: Investcorp said on Monday that selling out of its stake to EQT "will represent a highly successful investment" and that since 2018, UTA had more than tripled its EBITDA.

  • Investcorp noted UTA's acquisitions of Klutch Sports, Digital Brand Architects, MediaLink and Curtis Brown Group.
  • EQT "will support UTA's continued growth plans, further accelerating growth through investments in its core businesses as well as expansion into adjacent opportunities," the company said.

Editor's note: this article was updated to add a second bullet under the Details section to give further detail about Investcorp's U.S. investment team.

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