Digital Marketing Company for Sale

United Talent Agency Acquires MediaLink for $125 Million

United Talent Agency Acquires MediaLink for $125 Million
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United Talent Agency said it has acquired MediaLink, a marketing and media consulting firm owned by Ascential PLC, for $125 million, as the Hollywood talent firm seeks to ramp up its marketing practices.

The all-cash deal is part of UTA’s ongoing strategy to diversify its business at a time when traditional revenue streams are under pressure from changing industry economics and consolidation. Competing agencies are also growing and expanding either through mergers or entering into new lines of business including sports and podcasts.

“MediaLink is the perfect piece to help accelerate our strategy in the way we encounter, connect, and engage brands,” UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer said in an interview.

MediaLink, known for its deep relationships with major brands and media companies such as AT&T company ,

Unilever PLC and Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal became part of Ascential, the UK-based company that owns the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2017.

MediaLink employs about 150 people and had $44.2 million in revenue for 2020 and about $32 million in revenue for the first half of 2021, according to Ascential. MediaLink works with brands, media companies, and advertising technology companies, helping them adapt to the digital age. It also helps brands choose which ad agencies to partner with.

Ascential said it’s selling MediaLink because its long-term strategy focuses on the digital commerce space. “We’ve had tremendous success around the digital commerce aspect of the company, so our capital and investments are prioritized in this aspect of the company,” said Duncan Painter, CEO of Ascential.

Mr. Pinter said MediaLink will continue to be involved with Ascential at the Cannes Advertising Festival.

Michael Cassin will remain CEO of MediaLink.


Photo:

Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg News

Michael Cassin, 71, will remain CEO of MediaLink and become a partner at UTA. He signed a five-year contract with the company.

UTA’s five-year-old marketing division, which has about 30 employees and works on behalf of brands such as General Motors company

Delta Airlines company

and lift company ,

You will become part of MediaLink.

UTA Marketing recently helped L’Oreal USA launch the NFT collection to support women and promote their lipstick line. NFTs are virtual acts that transfer ownership of digital assets that can be traded and tracked indefinitely using blockchain technology.

Earlier this year, the company paired actor Will Ferrell with General Motors to announce the Super Bowl and helped fund the Bitcoin Coinbase Global wallet. company

Start a podcast.

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As technology continues to revolutionize entertainment, brands are trying to figure out “how to publish and work with artists in this new world,” said UTA’s Mr. Zimmer.

The lines between Hollywood and Madison Avenue have become blurred over the past few years as talent agencies increasingly work with advertisers.

The work of talent agencies in film, television, and music gives reading about culture that attracts brands that want to appear relevant to consumers.

Talent representation firms have worked with marketers on additional talent links and product placement, and are increasingly pairing brands with performers and creators—whether celebrities or digital originals. They are also working with advertisers to create entertainment programs that are difficult to reach consumers due to the rise of ad-free services like Netflix.

UTA, whose clients include singer Demi Lovato and actors Harrison Ford and Seth Rogan, has diversified its business over the past few years to include brand building, podcasts, endorsements, NFTs and esports. The company has also expanded the representation of sports talent, news and music practice business.

Industry watchers have been waiting to see what moves UTA ​​might take given the wave of consolidation in the entertainment industry. Creative Artists agency said in September it would acquire rival agency ICM Partners, while Endeavor Group Holdings company

That same month, he announced a deal to buy online sports betting company OpenBet.

The deal gives MediaLink the ability to leverage UTA’s extensive experience in areas as diverse as gaming, sports and music. “It’s the stuff our customers are asking for,” Mr. Cassin said in an interview.

write to Suzanne Franica at suzanne.vranica@wsj.com

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