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Private equity giant acquires stake in UTA agency

Private equity group EQT has become a strategic investor in United Talent Agency (UTA), which represents major artists such as Guns N Roses, Dolly Parton and Muse.

EQT, which has around $100.0bn in assets under management, said the acquisition of the undisclosed stake recognises Beverly Hills-headquartered UTA’s recent growth trajectory and will help fuel future investments in talent, innovation and international expansion.

The investment comes after UTA recently acquired European publishing and talent agency, The Curtis Brown Group, and MediaLink, the strategic advisory firm for entertainment and media companies. Over four years, the number of employees at the group has almost doubled to nearly 1,900 employees.

EQT said it expects UTA to benefit from long-term tailwinds such as increased content distribution platforms, including streaming and the globalisation of content and fandom. Its financial resources, in-house digital team and global footprint will support UTA’s growth plans, with a view to accelerating growth through investments in its core businesses as well as expansion into other opportunities.

Jeremy Zimmer, chief executive 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.”

UTA, which also has offices in offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Nashville, New York and London, represents talent across a broad range of categories including music, film, and sports.

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.

The transaction is expected to close later this month.

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.”