A day after signing a deal to acquire a CAA ICM partner, Endeavor CEO Erie Emanuel told an industry crowd on Tuesday that he had considered acquiring an ICM more than a decade ago, before Endeavor withdrew its acquisition from the William Morris Agency.
At the Record Conference in Beverly Hills, Emanuel picked up the big news from Hollywood during his long-scheduled Q&A. He rejected the idea of UTA as an acquisition target for Endeavor and took a swipe at CAA to get involved in Scarlett Johansson’s high-profile lawsuit against Disney.
“I applaud them for verifying my strategy in ’08. They’re only 13 years late,” Emanuel said of the CAA’s acquisition during an extensive interview with Record’s executive editor Cara Suisher.
When the Swiss pressed him in the hope that Endeavor would try to buy UTA, Emanuel replied bluntly, “We don’t need it.”
Emanuel emphasized the state of the WME, which he asserted had seen “double” growth over the past 10 years, the future of the film business and Endeavor’s work to help clients enjoy their own celebrity and social media platforms.
The Swiss pressed Emanuel as a larger entity in Endeavor that is now home to businesses other than the UFC, professional bull riders, IMG and WME. He stressed to Emanuel how WME clients benefit from Endeavor extensions. Emanuel’s response includes a sharp dig in the CAA and its most vocal leader, managing director Brian Lord.
Emanuel said Endeavor companies benefit from larger business enterprises doing business with media giants on a larger scale, such as PBR’s licensing agreement with CBS and UFC’s long-term deal with ESPN.
Emanuel said, “You have so much business with that company that it gives you leverage.” “Opposing the lack of leverage and so suing. We negotiate contracts for our clients and make them a lot of money. Some people decide that they just want to sue people. I’m not sure that’s what was assigned to them. ”
Emanuel Dwayne mentions Johnson and Michael B. Jordan as clients who benefited from Endeavor’s reach. Jordan has created an advertising agency in partnership with Endeavor. Endeavor helped Johnson finance his investment in the XFL Football League outside of bankruptcy last year.
“We want to be in the business of ownership, not just of representation,” he said. “We don’t stay still.”
Eisenhower was also pressured by the Swiss in Endeavor’s first failed attempt in public in the autumn of 2019. The company had a successful IPO in April and its shares have remained stable in the 30 range, with investors optimistic about the demand for UFC fights.
Emanuel acknowledges that the UFC needs full power behind the company to sustain earnings to be sustainable as a public entity. After the first IPO went south, Endeavor bought the remaining half of the UFC that was not owned by it, which made all the difference last spring. Emanuel Morgan Stanley and managing director Brian Stern have been mentioned to help rescue the IPO. “We have worked really hard for 18 months. We have cleared our verticals, ”he said.
Emanuel did not apologize for taking the 160 million salary at the time of the first IPO, a move that caused other workers to wait for liquidity to float in Endeavor. Emanuel mentioned his personal investment in the company and the original Endeavor agency when times were weak.
“The last time I checked, I found the company. I invested in the business. I didn’t get paid,” he said. “We had a very difficult time. I financed the company. I paid people very well. That’s what happens.”
Emanuel and Swiss are somewhat excited about the state of the movie business and especially about running movies. Emanuel predicted that box office numbers would eventually be strongly revived, perhaps not at the pre-epidemic level, but he ridiculed the idea that theatrical experience had declined.
“The film business is not shutting down,” he said.