LA-based talent representation and marketing firm Wasserman said Monday it has acquired storied management and production firm Brillstein Entertainment Partners, another sign of consolidation in the representation space as businesses face competitive pressure to expand their reach.
The deal expands Wasserman’s roster, which already includes sports, music and brands, to clients in other areas of entertainment, such as film and TV performers. Brillstein represents entertainment industry figures including actors Florence Pugh and Brad Pitt, comedians Seth Meyers and Adam Sandler, and influencer Brittany Brosky, known for a viral TikTok reaction video of her trying kombucha.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We bring expertise and experience in both the talent management space and the content production space on the entertainment side that we didn’t have before,” Casey Wasserman, chairman and chief executive of his namesake firm, said in an interview. . “As talent opportunities continue to become broader and more diverse, this is a significant addition to our ability to serve our clients.”
Talks between the two companies began last year before scripted film and television production was halted due to a strike by writers and actors. The work stoppages put significant pressure on workers, studios, talent agencies and managers and led to layoffs across the industry.
Brillstein executives will continue to lead the firm and join Wasserman’s leadership team, and more than 30 Brillstein directors will continue in their roles, the companies said in a joint news release.
“All of us at Brillstein are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Wasserman and tap their extensive resources on behalf of our management clients,” Brillstein’s co-chief executives, John Liebman and Cynthia Pate, said in a statement. “We share the same vision, which is to serve all of our clients – talent, lighting, comedy, digital and gaming – in an increasingly complex ecosystem.”
Brillstein’s history goes back to 1969, when it was founded by Bernie Brillstein, the influential talent manager and producer who helped bring “Saturday Night Live” to TV. The business later became Brillstein-Gray Entertainment, when Brillstein joined forces with fellow manager Brad Gray, who eventually became head of Paramount Pictures.
Brillstein sold his interest in the company in 1996. In 2005, Gray sold his ownership of Brillstein-Gray Entertainment to Pate and Liebman. Two years later, the firm was renamed Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Brillstein died in 2008. Gray died in 2017.
Wasserman, who led Los Angeles’ successful bid for the 2028 Summer Olympics, continues to grow his company through acquisitions. In 2021, Wasserman purchased Paradigm Talent Agency’s North American live music representation business.
Brillstein is Wasserman’s tenth acquisition in two years. The latest deal brings the company’s workforce to about 1,900. Wasserman’s grandfather was Lou Wasserman, a Hollywood mogul and kingmaker who ran the powerful entertainment company MCA.
As the definition of entertainment has broadened, talent agencies and management firms have expanded the areas they serve clients. For Wasserman, that means the business will grow beyond sports, music and brands.
“We obviously started thinking about ways to continue to make sure we had the best people in the business as resources for our clients that were quickly blurring what were quite distinct businesses,” Wasserman said.
Major talent agencies such as Creative Artists Agency, Endeavor-owned WME and United Talent Agency have grown significantly over the years, increasing pressure on small businesses. Last year, CAA purchased Hollywood’s fourth-largest talent agency, ICM Partners, in an acquisition valued at $750 million, expanding its staff to 425 employees. Earlier this month, investment company Artemis agreed to buy a majority stake in CAA. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal was said to value CAA at $7 billion.