CAA explores buying Paradigm Talent Agency

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Creative Artists Agency at Avenue of the Stars in Los Angeles.

Creative Artists Agency at Avenue of the Stars in Los Angeles. (Dreamstime/TNS)

LOS ANGELES – One of Hollywood’s biggest talent agencies may become even bigger.

Creative Artists Agency has had exploratory discussions to buy Paradigm Talent Agency, according to two people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to comment.

The discussions began after Paradigm had shut down an acquisition effort last year by United Talent Agency, said one of the sources.

At the time, Paradigm’s CEO Sam Gores was not interested in selling his Beverly Hills agency.

Although it’s unclear whether or how soon a deal might occur, buying Paradigm would give CAA a roster of high-profile music clients.

Paradigm, which has more than 700 employees, is known for its music representation business, with such clients as Ed Sheeran, Fergie and Idina Menzel.

Representatives of CAA and Paradigm declined to comment.

Like other agencies, CAA has expanded through acquisition to diversify its business. Last year, for example, its sports division acquired Base Soccer Agency to boost its representation of athletes.

CAA announced a major overhaul of its operations last week, with a newly created board to handle day-to-day management of the Century City business.

Like other agencies, Paradigm has been under pressure to adapt to a changing media industry. The rise of streaming and the expected decline of TV packaging – where agencies collect fees for packaging talent on shows – combined with the effects of the longstanding writers boycott, have squeezed talent agencies, some of which have laid off workers.

Paradigm in January laid off 30 employees, including agents in its music division and people who worked in the reality TV department, according to people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to comment.

The layoffs were part of the company’s effort to reduce redundancies caused by the agency’s acquisitions in the music space.

Agencies also are evaluating how many writers they will represent in the future due to the monthslong dispute between the Writers Guild of America and the Association of Talent Agents over a new code of conduct. The guild has stopped negotiating with the ATA and instead is making deals with individual agencies.

So far, more than 80 small and mid-tier agencies have agreements with the WGA, including eight agencies that have broken ranks with the ATA. But none of the larger agencies, including Paradigm, have signed an agreement with the WGA.

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