United Talent Agency Acquires James & Co.

June 21, 2023 – United Talent Agency (UTA), a global provider of talent, entertainment, sports and advisory, has acquired James & Co., a New York City-based executive search and human capital consulting firm working across the sports, media, entertainment, digital, and consumer sectors. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Industry veterans Michele James and Roysi Erbes, who founded their firm 21 years ago, will continue to co-lead the firm as a new division within UTA. The addition of James & Co. continues the buildout of UTA’s range of capabilities for clients across entertainment, sports, and business. The agency’s multi-year growth and expansion strategy has included partnering with sports representation firm KLUTCH and the acquisitions of corporate advisory firm MediaLink, the U.K.’s Curtis Brown Group, as well as publishing agency Fletcher & Co. With the transaction, the executive search team at MediaLink will become part of the new division at UTA, which will offer clients a full range of human capital services.

“Over the past two decades, James & Co. has gained enormous trust and respect from high-level clients across the worlds of sports, entertainment, and more,” said Andrew Thau, chief operating officer of UTA and co-head of UTA Sports. “Michele and Roysi are a great fit with UTA’s collaborative and entrepreneurial culture, and their expertise is unrivaled. It’s exciting to welcome them and their team to UTA as we help even more clients find and empower their most important assets – their people.”

Mss. James and Erbes said: “James & Co. has been operating at the intersection of media, entertainment, sports, consumer and digital media for over two decades. UTA’s shared expertise in these sectors, as well as our aligned cultures, presents a unique opportunity to create a force multiplier effect. We have partnered with UTA many times over the years and are looking forward to joining the UTA family to continue to be a positive catalyst for building businesses and careers.”

James & Co. was founded in 2002 to provide blue-chip clients with a differentiated, contemporary approach to scale businesses in their sectors, provide real-time marketplace knowledge and insights into candidate pools. Their services include executive search, performance management, organizational design, and transactional assistance. With a focus on C-suite and board-level roles, James & Co. works on a global basis with clients that range from sports teams and professional leagues to entertainment companies and other major Fortune 500 organizations.

“Executive search is an important strategic offering for MediaLink partners, and this acquisition will catapult us to even greater heights,” said Michael Kassan, CEO of MediaLink. “I’ve known Michele and Roysi for many years, and I look forward to working with them even more closely in the future.”

UTA, founded in 1991, has seen significant growth in its talent representation practice as well as its recent investments across entertainment, sports and advisory businesses, all designed to give clients increasing access to the company’s global range of capabilities and relationships. This ongoing strategic expansion has included the recent opening of a full-service base of operations in Atlanta, opening new London offices for UTA and Curtis Brown Group, and announcing the appointment of Mr. Thau as co-head of UTA Sports, signaling further expansion in that field.

Recent Acquisitions

Acquisitions and consolidations continue to make news in the recruiting industry, with a number of notable purchases in recent months. And it’s not just executive search firms, technology-based outfits have also been in on the action. Here is a sampling from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

Leadership advisory firm Russell Reynolds Associates (RRA) has acquired Nvolv, a boutique leadership consulting firm serving CEOs and C-suite executives of global businesses. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. “Our acquisition of Nvolv represents a powerful opportunity for us to bolster our client offerings and further strengthen our preeminent position as leaders in C-suite leadership advisory services,” said Constantine Alexandrakis, CEO of Russell Reynolds Associates. “Bob and the entire Nvolv team have an enviable track record of building deep relationships and driving extraordinary results at the most senior levels of organizations, and we look forward to joining forces to increase the depth of both firms’ impact in advising and coaching C-suite executives, preparing the next generation of senior executives, supporting new leader integration, de-risking CEO succession, and aligning top teams to deliver on their transformation agendas.”

 ZRG, a global talent advisory firm and portfolio company of RFE Investment Partners, has acquired Helbling & Associates, an executive search firm focused on real estate, facilities, and construction. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. “The addition of the Helbling team to the ZRG family will bolster our growing real estate practice,” said Larry Hartmann, CEO of ZRG. “We’ll have more resources for our clients, including support in the construction sector of the real estate industry. We are very excited to bring even greater depth and breadth of expertise to the companies we serve.” Helbling & Associates, based in Wexford, PA, was established in 1992 by Tom Helbling to meet the recruiting needs of construction contractors and real estate developers. As clients began referring the firm to their professional networks, Helbling’s client base expanded to entities with significant real estate assets and facilities management needs. Today, Helbling’s clients include institutions of education, healthcare, and research, as well as cultural and community organizations. The firm has completed search assignments in 43 states.

Stockholm, Sweden-based executive search firm Mercuri Urval (MU) has acquired German executive search firm Delta Management Consultants GmbH. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. “We are pleased to be acquiring such a longstanding firm with such exceptional colleagues,” said Richard Moore, CEO. “Together we will create even further value for both our clients. Today clients need effective, sustainable, and diverse leadership more than ever. Acquiring and improving leadership is the greatest challenge organizations face – and the only way they can sustainably outperform.” Founded in 1983, Delta Management Consultants has for over 30 years assisted clients in areas such as executive search, leadership advisory, management consulting, and more. Anja Schelte, J. Carlos Fernandes, and Stefan Koop, managing partners of Delta Management Consultants GmbH, said: “We look forward to a future together with Mercuri Urval. Our employees benefit from the company’s resources and global presence. Our clients can continue to count on the proven expertise and commitment of us, their longstanding advisors, but now with the added value and expanded capabilities that this strategic acquisition offers.”

Related: Hunt Scanlon Media Launches M&A Advisory Service for Recruiters

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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