Merger of CAA and ICM Delayed Amid Justice Dept. Scrutiny – Billboard

The U.S. Division of Justice is scrutinizing CAA’s acquisition of ICM Companions, digging into the key businesses’ proposed merger and its influence on the leisure business, a number of sources accustomed to the matter inform The Hollywood Reporter.

The acquisition, unveiled in September, initially deliberate to shut by the tip of 2021, however is now focusing on Q2 2022, sources say. If the deal goes by way of, the company and illustration panorama would have three main gamers in Endeavor-owned WME, CAA and UTA, together with different opponents like APA, Gersh and Paradigm.

In line with one supply, the DOJ’s antitrust division, led by Assistant Legal professional Basic Jonathan Kanter, has interviewed high executives on the two businesses in addition to some outsiders like APA CEO Jim Gosnell. The Division of Justice didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

This supply mentioned that considerations from some Hollywood unions such because the Writers Guild of America or SAG-AFTRA could have triggered the shut evaluate. After the deal was initially unveiled, SAG-AFTRA nationwide government director Duncan Crabtree-Eire mentioned in a press release that the union would “rigorously scrutinize this mix of two storied expertise businesses to make sure that performers will profit from, and aren’t deprived by, the deal.” SAG-AFTRA and the WGA didn’t reply to a request for remark for this story.

When requested about regulatory considerations by THR after the deal was introduced, CAA co-chairman Bryan Lourd mentioned he was “very assured” the deal would move muster. “We clearly have gotten nice recommendation from our advisors at [law firm] Wachtell Lipton and [investment bank] Allen & Co., and everybody could be very assured about that a part of this,” Lourd mentioned. “We don’t know if they’ll wish to speak to us or not, within the scheme of issues this isn’t a serious deal like among the different offers we’re all watching and studying, however we’re very assured.”

Each the DOJ antitrust division and the Federal Commerce Fee have been grappling with a barrage of M&A exercise since President Biden took workplace a yr in the past.

Within the TMT (expertise, media, and telecommunications) sector alone, Discovery is within the technique of merging with WarnerMedia, Univision is merging with Televisa, Amazon has proposed shopping for MGM, and Take-Two Interactive struck a deal to purchase Zynga. In the meantime, Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ Candle Media has struck a number of offers to purchase stakes or complete firms within the sector, together with Reese Witherspoon’s Hiya Sunshine, Cocomelon producer Moonbug Leisure and Fauda maker Faraway Highway Productions.

The DOJ has already acted within the sector, suing to dam ViacomCBS’ sale of the e book writer Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random Home, citing monopsony considerations. That go well with was filed earlier than Kanter was confirmed, although the lawyer did increase monopsony considerations in his affirmation testimony.

Kim Masters and Borys Package contributed reporting.

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