Already a member? Log In

ICM Agents Are Lawyering Up

Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
July 7, 2022

I know, nobody feels an ounce of sympathy for Hollywood agents. To many, they’re parasitic mercenaries who will lie and obfuscate to secure their clients a few more peanut M&Ms in their trailers. That stereotype is not totally true, of course, and to the extent that it is, so what? Agents extract value in a system designed by studios and streamers to hide it, even if most executives consider them a 10 percent tax on talent.

So it’s hard not to feel a little bad for these ICM Partners agents who are getting chewed up in its $750 million acquisition by CAA, its larger rival, that was finally approved last week by the Department of Justice. Takeovers are difficult, both culturally and logistically, so nobody expected these cutthroat CAA and ICM agents to form a drum circle or sing an Armani-clad version of We Are the World at the corner of Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars. Still, due either to naivete or an inflated sense of their own value, few on the ICM side expected the ruthlessness with which this “merger” is being carried out. It’s getting nasty.