UTA Gets Private Equity Investment From EQT to Fuel Expansion – Billboard

A fund operated by the private equity firm EQT Partners has made a strategic investment in talent agency UTA, in a deal the agency says “will help fuel the next phase of investments in talent, innovation and international expansion.”

EQT will become the largest outside shareholder in UTA in the acquisition, which will also see the firm acquiring stakes from some of UTA’s existing investors, including Investcorp and PSP Investments. UTA partnership and leadership will remain the controlling shareholders of the agency.

Specific terms of the deal, including valuation, were not disclosed. However, everyone at UTA is expected to benefit financially from the investment.

UTA has been on something of an acquisition spree in recent months, acquiring the strategic advisory firm MediaLink, the U.K. literary and talent agency The Curtis Brown Group, and the data and analytics firm MediaHound. The new funding 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 in unveiling the deal. In other words, it isn’t done growing just yet.

UTA’s new shareholder caps off what has been a blockbuster year for the major talent agencies. Endeavor, the owner of WME, went public in an IPO in April 2021, and has been acquiring smaller companies to bulk up ever since. Then last month, CAA completed its acquisition of ICM Partners, forming a representation juggernaut.

CAA, WME, and UTA are now the unequivocal “Big 3” talent agencies, with Endeavor now touting a market cap of $10 billion (including other divisions like UFC), and CAA holding a pro forma enterprise value of $5 billion. The combined CAA-ICM has 3,200 employees, while UTA now has around 1,900 employees.

“EQT is the perfect partner for UTA’s next phase of growth,” UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer said in a statement. “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.”

EQT, based in Stockholm, Sweden, currently has €77 billion in assets under management across 36 active funds. The UTA investment is in the EQT X fund., which has a target size of €20 billion.

“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,” added Kasper Knokgaard, EQT partner and global head of the services sector team. “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.”

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.

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