ILMC 34: Casey Wasserman talks about Paradigm acquisitions


Casey Wasserman discussed Wasserman Music’s acquisitions of Paradigm’s live music business in North America and the UK.

This latest deal took place earlier this week and comes a year after the launch of Wasserman Music, which itself followed the completion of its acquisition of Paradigm’s North American live music business.

Speaking yesterday (27 April) at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), Wasserman revealed that his company had always planned to buy both businesses from Paradigm.

“We are not myopic,” he said. “I’m not sitting in Los Angeles and I don’t think the world works and revolves around the United States. Building a global music business is of fundamental importance to the customers we serve and to the business in which we operate.

“I’m not sitting in Los Angeles and I don’t think the world works and revolves around the United States”

“We can’t say to our customers, ‘We can only serve you in this small area or in this small way.’ For us, not having a global music business integrated and operating as a single unit would be a mistake.

Explaining the reason for purchasing the businesses separately, Wasserman said, “Due to the different ownership interests, we have separated these transactions to give them both the proper attention and focus.”

The entertainment mogul hailed Paradigm’s UK management team – which includes Dave Hallybone, Alex Hardee, Tom Schroeder and James Whitting – as “world class” and said the company had weathered the pandemic incredibly well.

Discussing the combination of Wasserman Music and Paradigm’s North American business, Wasserman said the deal was “incredibly complex” and took more than 14 months.

“Building a global music business is of fundamental importance to the customers we serve and to the business in which we operate”

“We hired 80 employees and created a new music division and [because of the pandemic] we never had an in-person meeting to achieve that,” he explained.

According to the US executive, the US deal came about after a “quasi-deal” with Sam Gores, founder and CEO of Paradigm.

“I had coffee with him once a week for several years, trying to buy the business,” he said. “In February 2020, Paradigm stepped on several landmines and kind of blew themselves up. And so I basically said to our guys, ‘Ok, enough of the dating game with Sam Gores, we’re just going to move on. to something else.

“And to their credit, Sam and his brother Tom called a few months later and said, ‘We’re having a hard time here, we really needed to resolve this situation and we’d like to talk about buying you the music business, ‘ which is kind of all we wanted anyway. And so we started this process on April 4, 2020, and at the end of May 2021, we closed.

“[The Paradigm acquisitions are] the first two steps, not the last two steps”

He continued, “We have been through a lot together in these 14 months to get closer. And we knew that ultimately we had to get this team together and move forward together. We don’t operate an agency to create structures and bureaucracy because that’s not how agents operate. Our job is kind of to put the guardrails in place, let them do their job, give them the resources to do it, and help them when they need help and stay away.

Now that Wasserman Music has both Paradigm businesses under its belt, the plan for the future is to “continue to put ourselves in the best position to succeed”. “We want to represent the best clients, help them advance their careers, and be incredibly relevant and influential in the music business. We have a great management team, we have great relationships and we will continue to be aggressive,” he said.

The US executive also hinted at future acquisitions to build a global music business, saying Paradigm’s acquisitions are “the first two steps, not the last two steps.”

“If we think [a company] adds value to our business and our customers, we go after it. We want to make us the best place for an agent to pursue a career for themselves and their clients,” he added.

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