Paradigm Agency for sale?
LA-based sports marketing and talent management firm the Wasserman Media Group is rumoured to be in talks to buy the music assets of the Paradigm talent agency.

Paradigm, like all talent agencies, has been hit hard by the COVID-19 shutdown, and the resulting cancellation of live events and – for those that also represent actors, directors and writers – the temporary halting of TV and film productions.

Many agencies have taken measures to navigate the COVID-19 storm, including downsizing workforces and reducing wages, though Paradigm in particular was criticised for the rapid and severe measures it instigated at the start of shutdown. Those criticisms got extra media coverage after one of the firm`s agents, Debbie Klein, filed a bombastic lawsuit making a plethora of allegations against the company and its boss Sam Gores.

According to sources that spoke to Variety, Gores’ brother Tom – who heads up a private equity firm called Platinum Equity – has been sounding out the Wasserman Media Group and its boss Casey Wasserman about a possible deal regarding Paradigm’s music division.

That said, the same sources stress that talks are still at a very early stage and it’s by no means assured a deal will be struck. Variety describe said talks as “on-again, off-again”, adding “there’s a good chance that a deal may never come to fruition”.

US-based Paradigm has significantly grown its interests in the music space in recent years including via acquisition. And that includes in the UK where Paradigm formed a partnership with and ultimately acquired the Coda agency.

In a staff memo Sam Gores comment the rumours:

Dear Colleagues,

By now most of you have seen stories in the media that Casey Wasserman is in talks to purchase Paradigm, and that the deal is nearly done. Let me be clear: these stories are not accurate. There is no agreement to sell Paradigm, nor is any sale imminent.

The agents at Paradigm and the talent they represent have built this agency into an industry leader. Despite the difficult environment that nearly every company in the entertainment industry has faced and is facing due to the coronavirus, we have made good progress in stabilizing and strengthening our agency. This progress is in no small part due to the hard work and dedication of our team. I want you to know how much I appreciate your efforts.

We are always looking for ways to further build and grow our company. This is nothing new. What is new, in my view, is that this environment has created unique opportunities, and we are – as you might expect—looking at a number of them.

Don’t let rumors or speculative reporting upset or distract you. We are the best at what we do because we remain focused on our clients. And this is how we will continue to thrive and succeed.

If there is something to report, be assured you will hear it from us. In the meantime, stay safe, healthy, and focused.

Sam