Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel Says ‘No’ to Buying UTA

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Ari Emanuel says that, despite CAA’s blockbuster acquisition of ICMEndeavor isn’t necessarily looking to join the buying spree in the space.

Interviewed by Kara Swisher at the Code Conference in Beverly Hills, the Endeavor CEO was asked directly whether he would pursue UTA in the wake of the CAA-ICM deal. “No, we don’t need it,” Emanuel replied.

Asked about the CAA-ICM deal, Emanuel said: “I think what they bought basically was five incredible TV writers … They bought a very good book business and a very good soccer business out of Europe.”

He also said that the deal “validated” Endeavor’s strategy when it merged with WMA. “They are just coming to it 13 years later … Mazel tov,” he added.

He also defended Endeavor’s representation business, pushing back against the notion that the company is ignoring it in favor of UFC or its other ventures.

“I would say to you, we are the largest agency,” Emanuel said. “Our representation business, for the last 10 or 11 years, has grown double digits every year for 10 years. It is a very significant part of our business, and it is the core feeder for how our business grows.”

He also argued that Endeavor continues to be important to its clients, particularly as the number of streaming services continue to grow, and as the power of celebrity to drive other businesses increases.

“I think we actually add value to their dreams or desires, whether that be creating a production company, whether it be producing, whether it be endorsements,” Emanuel said. “They [streaming services] all need more content, and there is a voracious appetite for more content. From where I am sitting, my clients are doing really, really well, and they will continue to do really well.”

Still, there is a limit to who Endeavor will represent. When asked if he would once again represent Donald Trump (Emanuel repped him before he ran for president), Emanuel gave an instant and brief response: “No.”

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.

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