United Talent Agency (UTA), a global leader in talent, entertainment and sports, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Curtis Brown Group, one of the UK’s largest and most prestigious literary and talent groups.
This alliance makes Curtis Brown Group the first prominent UK literary and talent representation group to join with a major global talent agency. For UTA, the deal significantly expands its global footprint in one of the world’s most important and thriving creative markets. Under the terms of the deal London-based Curtis Brown Group, founded in 1899, will continue to operate under its current name and highly regarded management, including CEO Jonny Geller. This structure will allow both Curtis Brown Group and UTA to continue their fruitful and longstanding relationships with other agency partners in the UK and US.
The union is driven by a shared desire to ensure greater opportunities for clients across an increasingly global entertainment and culture landscape, in which traditional buyers and distributors such as studios and streaming services are expanding far beyond their home markets. The alliance provides Curtis Brown Group with resources to continue to build out its business, and the benefit of UTA’s expertise across a wide range of capabilities in such areas as brands, podcasts, digital talent, endorsements, media rights, data analytics and more.
While the great majority of Curtis Brown Group’s business is serving UK clients in their home market, UTA and companies in the Curtis Brown Group have collaborated successfully together for many years, in some cases working with talent such as Damian Lewis, Lily James, Alicia Vikander, Bel Powley, as well as rising star Ncuti Gatwa, who the BBC just named the next Dr. Who. The two ventures also share representation of screenwriters such as David Farr (The Night Manager, Hanna), Georgia Pritchett (Succession, Veep and The Shrink Next Door), and Tony Roche (Succession, The Thick of It).
For more than a century, Curtis Brown Group has been well known for its internationally recognized authors (including Margaret Atwood, Jojo Moyes, Lucy Foley, Lisa Jewell, Matt Haig, Nigella Lawson, and Ben Macintyre) and literary estates (including Ian Fleming, John le Carré, Daphne du Maurier, A.A. Milne, and John Steinbeck). Curtis Brown Group has grown and diversified over the last ten years, emerging as the UK’s top talent agency with a string of acquisitions of other leading UK talent companies, including Markham Froggatt & Irwin in 2020, Tavistock Wood in 2018, Ed Victor in 2017 and C&W in 2013. Curtis Brown is also home to the world’s first creative writing course run by an agency.
In addition to its eminence in publishing, Curtis Brown Group’s many other industry-leading divisions include its global talent practice (representing actors, presenters, comedians, and other performers), and a prestigious theatre, film and television department (representing leading screenwriters, directors, producers, playwrights, and production arts talent).
For UTA, founded in 1991, the move further accelerates the company’s momentum as it brings together ideas, opportunities and talent. This includes significant growth in its talent representation business as well as recent investments across entertainment, sports and marketing in leading ventures that continue to operate under their own names with ready access and close alignment to UTA’s global platform and capabilities. This ongoing strategic expansion has included taking a significant stake in 2019 in Klutch Sports Group, which represents top U.S. athletes, and the 2021 acquisition of MediaLink, a leading strategic advisory and marketing firm that serves the world’s leading brands.
David Kramer, Co-President of UTA, said: “This move is about the vanishing borders of the global entertainment business and our united determination to ensure artists and creators remain at the heart of the opportunities ahead. UTA and Curtis Brown Group have known each other and worked together for years, and we couldn’t be more excited to be taking this step together at a time when the UK’s creative industries are thriving. For UTA, this was driven by the profound respect we have for the Curtis Brown leadership, their deep roots in the UK, the team they’ve assembled, and their company culture. We’re coming together in a way that is designed to ensure Curtis Brown’s business and team – and their way of doing business in the markets they know best – continues to flourish and grow.”
Said Jonny Geller, CEO of Curtis Brown Group: “We have long admired UTA under the leadership of David Kramer and its CEO, Jeremy Zimmer. Curtis Brown’s deep understanding of the European market combined with their culture of collaboration and innovation offers our company and our clients many great opportunities. This partnership will allow Curtis Brown to grow and to respond to the demands of an increasingly globalised world. We have always prided ourselves on our ability to nurture new talent across all our departments and provide an open and inclusive culture, and we are excited to begin a new chapter in this wonderful company’s 123-year-old history.”
Jeremy Zimmer, Co-Founder and CEO of UTA, said: “The brand of Curtis Brown has been synonymous with great storytelling and rigorous artist representation for more than a century. We are thrilled to align with such a great team. As the world of media grows and contorts, UTA is looking for great partnerships to drive our growth. In Curtis Brown, we believe we have found just such a partnership.”
Curtis Brown has more than 240 employees and is expected to continue to grow as a result of this deal. No staffing reductions are anticipated due to this transaction. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.