Drawing a Swift Rebuke from Writers, Endeavor Plans to Go Public by the End of This Year

Not everyone’s happy about Endeavor’s IPO.

According to a new report, Endeavor, the parent company of WME, a ‘Big Four’ talent agency, has prepared to go public later this year.

Other Big Four companies include Creative Arts Agency (CAA), International Creative Management (ICM Partners), and Paradigm.

Endeavor, once known as William Morris, will reportedly file confidential paperwork for an IPO.  In March 2018, the company had a valuation of around $4 billion after raising $400 million from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.  Endeavor’s secret IPO filing means that the company will likely go public by the end of 2019.

The move has drawn the ire of writers across the country.

Most notably, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has planned a series of measures intended to harm Endeavor.  This includes a new agency code of conduct, including banning packaging fees and severing all ties to affiliated production companies.

Swiftly rebuking the international talent agency conglomerate, WGA wrote,

[The] announcement that Endeavor plans to become a publicly-traded company only strengthens the call for the conflicted and illegal practices of the major talent agencies to end.

It’s impossible to reconcile the fundamental purpose of an agency — to serve the best interests of its clients — with the business of maximizing returns for Wall Street.

“Writers will not be leveraged by their own representatives into assets for investors.”

Endeavor has reportedly planned to go public for years.

According to WSJ, the IPO would broaden the conglomerate’s businesses “beyond film and television representation.”  This is due to falling salaries for A-list stars in recent years due to a “cutthroat and unpredictable business.”

Following the acquisition of sports and modeling agency IMG Worldwide in 2013 for $2.4 billion, Endeavor emerged as the world’s largest talent agency.  The company then acquired UFC for $4 billion, marketing agency 160over90 for $200 million, and the Miss Universe pageant.

In terms of music and live touring representation, Endeavor is undoubtedly a heavy-hitter. But the music world hasn’t been protesting the company’s IPO plans, at least not publicly.

WGA’s criticism comes during critical negotiation talks between the union and the Association of Talent Agents (ATA).  Since February 5th, both sides have reportedly held seven “unproductive negotiation sessions.”  Last week, following another breakdown, WGA and ATA blamed each other for “the lack of progress.”

Endeavor’s top clients include Josh Brolin, Russell Crowe, Brendan Fraser, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty, Rascal Flatts, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Weezer, and Kanye West, among many others.


Featured image by Eva K (CC by 2.0).

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