ICM Partners continued its European expansion with the purchase of London-based sports agency Stellar Group, the biggest acquisition in the 45-year history of the Hollywood talent agency.
Stellar, which ranked fourth last year in Forbes’ annual look at the world’s most powerful sports agencies, represents more than 800 athletes—mostly in soccer but also in track & field, cricket, rugby and the NFL—and manages current contracts totaling almost $3 billion, according to ICM.
“The world is becoming so interconnected and horizontal. The walls are all down with everything. It’s about evaluating talent and what kind of impact you can have with that talent,” says ICM CEO Chris Silbermann, who declined to disclose the price of the Stellar deal. “We feel we can apply a lot of the expertise we employ with celebrities and talent to athletes now as well. There is a natural fit.”
ICM is the smallest of the big four entertainment agencies, which also include WME, UTA and CAA. The Stellar deal heightens the competition with CAA, which launched its industry-leading sports practice 15 years ago. ICM represents stars Ellen DeGeneres, Beyoncé, Samuel L Jackson, J Cole and Khalid, as well as content creators Spike Lee, Shonda Rhimes and Vince Gilligan. With Stellar, it adds global soccer icon Gareth Bale and rising stars Saúl Ñíguez and Mason Mount to the mix.
Silbermann says they will be the foundation of a “multi-faceted” sports business that will be branded ICM Stellar Sports and will eventually include basketball, golf and tennis in the U.S., sports that are currently dominated by