Creative Artists Agency (CAA) Completes Acquisition of ICM Partners

Compass Lexecon was retained by counsel at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen, & Katz and Davis Polk & Wardell to represent the parties in connection with Creative Artists Agency’s acquisition of ICM Partners. The transaction combines two of the leading Hollywood talent agencies, representing high-profile talent in television, film, sports, music, publishing, and other areas. The transaction was investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority.

Compass Lexecon’s U.S. team was led by Jon Orszag. Professor James J. Heckman, Nobel Laureate in Economics for his work on labor economics (among other topics), submitted a report detailing how the merger would not raise concerns related to employment of talent agents, addressing the topic of labor and competition issues which has been a recent focus of the Biden Administration and Department of Justice. Jon Orszag presented numerous papers and provided other submissions to the U.S. Department of Justice analyzing the competitive effects of the merger, including the lack of closeness of competition between the parties, the low concentration in the industry, the ease of agent and client switching among representation firms, and the low barriers to entry and expansion in the industry, among other topics. In particular, Jon Orszag also co-authored a white paper with Guillermo Israilevich, Bo Bourke, and counsel that was submitted in the late stages of the investigation that summarized the evidentiary record of the case, and which was the basis of the final presentation before the Department of Justice cleared the transaction. Compass Lexecon’s U.K. team was led by Kirsten Edwards-Warren and focused on the lack of competitive concern related to the parties’ U.K. soccer representation businesses.

The Competition and Markets Authority cleared the transaction unconditionally in November 2021. After an extensive investigation that included numerous submissions from Compass Lexecon, a highly involved second request process, and several presentations to Department of Justice staff, DOJ closed its investigation on June 28, 2022.

Jon Orszag and Kirsten Edwards-Warren were supported by a team led by Bo Bourke that included Guillermo Israilevich, Gloriana Alvarez, Taylor Hines, Ziyu Fan, Zoya Azhar, Linjun Peng, Holly Bourque, Crystal Huang, and Natalie Bui. Professor Heckman was supported by a team led by Colleen Loughlin, that included Rick Flyer, Dan Stone, and Bo Bourke. Compass Lexecon worked closely with counsel Ilene Gotts from Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen, & Katz, Jesse Solomon from David, Polk, & Wardell, and Tom Usher from Macfarlanes.