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Private Equity

EQT's Talent Search Looks Overseas, on the Pitch

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Published: August 30th, 2022
Partner Kasper Knokgaard discusses the firm's investment in Hollywood talent shop United Talent Agency as well as growth prospects for the company on the heels of the investment.

Stockholm private equity firm EQT AB is eager to open the next chapter in its Hollywood playbook with the recently announced investment in United Talent Agency LLC.

“It is probably one of the more recession-resilient end markets you can find,” EQT partner Kasper Knokgaard told The Deal, referring to the field of film, television, streaming video, sports, music and other entertainment niches that UTA serves.

“You want to be in the shovels of the industry,” Knokgaard said, referring to the services that allow studios to produce content as opposed to investing in films that compete directly against Netflix Inc. (NFLX) or Walt Disney Co. (DIS). “You’re playing the overall market growth and you don’t take specific risk on a certain production or a certain company,” said Knokgaard, who also worked on the firm’s 2018 investment in production and entertainment software maker Cast & Crew Entertainment Services LLC.

While UTA is a star in Hollywood and in U.S. professional sports such as the National Basketball Association, Knokgaard said growth opportunities remain overseas and in markets such as European soccer. The sponsor also plans to use its data platform — dubbed EQT Motherbrain — to improve UTA’s ability to analyze opportunities for clients and to scout out potential add-on deals.

UTA is one of the top three Hollywood talent agencies, with TPG Capital LP’s Creative Artists Agency LLC and Endeavor Group Holdings Inc.’s (EDR) William Morris Agency LLC rounding out the trio.

EQT said it would buy a stake in the agency from Investcorp SA and Public Sector Pension Investment Board on July 18. Talks were not exclusive.

Editor’s note: The original, full version of this article with Kasper Knokgaard was published July 20, 2022, on The Deal’s premium subscription website. For access, log in to TheDeal.com or use the form below to request a free trial.

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