LOS ANGELES: Creative Artists Agency, the talent behemoth which represents celebrities such as Robert DeNiro and Madonna, has acquired a significant percentage of Shepardson Stern + Kaminsky.
LOS ANGELES: Creative Artists Agency, the talent behemoth which
represents celebrities such as Robert DeNiro and Madonna, has acquired a
significant percentage of Shepardson Stern + Kaminsky.
CAA’s stake in the PR firm, estimated to be around 40%, is the first
acquisition of a non-core business for the talent agency. It is thought
to be the first time an agency like CAA has invested in a PR
Earlier this year, ad shop McCann-Erickson forged a similar union with
celebrity PR shop PMK (PRWeek Feb.22).
The deal clearly makes sense for both parties. The NY-based SS+K, whose
capabilities include advertising and crisis and corporate PR, gains
powerful insight into pop-culture trends. Already, two of the firm’s
biggest clients, telecom giant Ameritech and Polo Ralph Lauren, have
inquired about long-term projects involving CAA input. Staffs of both
agencies will brainstorm about how to target certain demographic groups
and compile information about cultural trends.
For CAA, the deal opens a new range of possibilities in terms of
marketing its clients and top executives. ’We’re doing this because we
think the merger of their expertise in branding, advertising and PR and
what we bring in corporate intelligence is a powerful and unique thing,’
said CAA president Richard Lovett. Lovett added that CAA will likely tap
SS+K’s experience with clients in crisis situations.
SS+K generated fee income of dollars 12 million in 1998. Executives
refused to reveal how much cash or stock was exchanged in the deal.
SS+K partner Lenny Stern said the deal would add ’cultural intelligence’
to the firm’s political and research expertise. ’Few people are at the
epicenter of entertainment in the way these guys are,’ he said. ’They
are looking at film, TV and music, and have a sense where consumer taste
CAA first worked with SS+K around two years ago, when the talent shop
wanted to examine its image following the departure of founder and
Hollywood power broker Michael Ovitz. Negotiations between the two firms
heated up recently, and the suggestion to formalize the arrangement was
made by Lovett.
SS+K was established by Stern, Robert Shepardson and Mark Kaminsky in
1993. Its clients include Time Warner Cable and Liz Claiborne.