ICM Partners, which is backed by Crestview Partners, has acquired London-based Stellar Group, a sports agency. No financial terms were disclosed. Chris Treneman and Omar Ismail of Investec Bank Plc advised Stellar Group’s shareholders.
October 8, 2020 (Los Angeles/London) — ICM Partners has acquired Stellar Group, the powerhouse London based sports agency, creating ICM Stellar Sports, a division of ICM Partners. The announcement was made by Chris Silbermann, CEO of ICM Partners and Jonathan Barnett, Chairman of Stellar Group. Stellar Group is one of the largest sports agencies in the world, representing over 800 athletes (including NFL players), whose current contracts total close to $3 billion. The agency has over 130 employees and offices in 10 countries worldwide including the UK and United States. This acquisition benefits clients of both agencies, as it provides Stellar Group clients with the expertise and impact of a major US based full-service entertainment agency to further develop their off the field earning potential, while ICM’s clients gain access to world class athletes to develop properties across the spectrum of creative and distribution platforms. The deal catapults ICM Partners into one of the top global sports agencies with a goal of using that as a foundation to substantially grow its sports business in North America and Internationally.
Mr. Silbermann also announced that Jonathan Barnett, who Forbes magazine named the top sports agent in the world in 2019, has signed a long-term contract with ICM and will become Executive Chairman of ICM Stellar Sports. David Manasseh, co-founder of Stellar Group and one of the top agents in Europe, has signed a long-term contract with ICM and will become Executive Chairman of ICM Stellar Sports with Barnett. Barnett and Manasseh will run the day to day operations of the sports agency. Silbermann also named ICM Partners Managing Director Ted Chervin Chairman of ICM Stellar Sports, where he will add oversight of the ICM Sports business to his wide-ranging purview at ICM with a mandate to build it, especially in North America. Jonathan Perelman, who has previously overseen ICM’s Digital Department and Speakers Bureau, will become President of ICM Stellar Sports, with a focus on integrating the strengths of the agencies to maximize the crossover benefits for all clients. Longtime Stellar Group agent Joshua Barnett will become Managing Director of ICM Stellar Sports. All Stellar Group employees will join ICM Stellar Sports and continue to operate the agency as before.
Stellar Group’s shareholders were advised by Chris Treneman and Omar Ismail at Investec Bank Plc.
QUOTE CHRIS SILBERMANN
“With connectivity speeding the process, the sports, entertainment, music, media and publishing worlds have converged. Clients have greater opportunities than ever before to be multi-dimensional, multi-media brands. Aligning our wonderful and talented entertainment clients with Stellar’s premiere athletes is a powerful combination. Together we will be even better positioned to maximize this convergence and generate tremendous creative opportunities and financial upside for our global client base. In Jonathan Barnett, David Manasseh and the Stellar Group we have found the perfect partners and together we look forward to advancing our clients aspirations across the world.”
QUOTE JONATHAN BARNETT
“In Chris Silbermann and ICM Partners we have found the ideal partner to help our clients further their earning potential in an ever flattening world where athletes are brands with global appeal across numerous off the field revenue streams, which ICM will help us cultivate and exploit. They share our enthusiasm to enrich our client’s opportunities as well as expand our North American representation business which is very exciting for us.”
Stellar Group was founded by Jonathan Barnett and David Manasseh in 1992, and today it represents a full spectrum of athletes from emerging players to International superstars and is recognized as the world’s leading agency in the world’s leading sport (football/soccer). Stellar prides itself on being a full-service agency, focusing on every aspect of their clients’ careers from contract negotiations, financial management and marketing to individual player development as well as its client’s personal needs. They have a team of over 130 dedicated representatives and offices in countries including their UK home base in London, United States, Germany, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, and Uruguay.
ICM Partners is home to some of the world’s leading artists, musicians, journalists and content creators including; Samuel L Jackson, Regina King, Michael Keaton, Chris Rock, Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, John Cena, Pete Davidson, Jeff Daniels, Christoph Waltz, Savannah Guthrie, Wolf Blitzer, Christiane Amanpour, J Cole, Khalid, Skrillex, The 1975 and such content creators as Spike Lee, Shonda Rhimes and Vince Gilligan. The acquisition of Stellar Group is the third deal this year for ICM Partners in Europe, having partnered with London based music agency Primary Talent International in March, which added over 900 musical artists to the agency, then in September partnering with Albatros, the burgeoning European Lit agency based in Stockholm. Last December ICM announced an investment from Crestview Partners in which they announced the agency’s intention to use the capital to fund an aggressive growth strategy with an emphasis on International growth.
QUOTE DAVID MANASSEH
“We did this deal to give our clients greater access to opportunities across the spectrum of sports, entertainment and branding to give us the resources to further grow our business to better represent those clients.”
Ted Chervin and Chris Silbermann have worked side by side for over 25 years, with Chervin helping to run ICM with Silbermann since its inception in 2013. In addition to overseeing the sports business for ICM, he will continue to represent a diverse group of world class clients in film, television and broadcasting including Spike Lee, John Cena, Kenny Smith, Charlemagne Tha God and prolific writer/producer Bill Lawrence. Coincidentally, Lawrence created and is the executive producer of Apples’ #1 comedy TED LASSO, which features Jason Sudeikis as an American football coach who moves to England to become the head coach of an English Premiere League team.
SAID TED CHERVIN
“Jonathan Barnett, David Manasseh and Stellar Group sit at the top of the global sports representation business. They have everything we were looking for in a sports agency partner, a wealth of tremendous clients, a first class culture and a kindred entrepreneurial spirit that will allow us to grow both organically through deeper representation of their world class athletes, expansion of their NFL representation business and strategic acquisitions.”
Jonathan Perelman, who came to ICM Partners five years ago after stints at Buzzfeed and Google, has overseen the growth in the agency’s Digital and Speakers businesses to date and will now concentrate solely on the sports business.
Joshua Barnett has been with Stellar for 12 years. He is one of the leading agents in the industry and has had a major role in developing the growth of Stellar’s business and offices throughout Europe.