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WMA – Endeavor Merger Talks Hang On Leadership Issues

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Speculation about a merger between The William Morris Agency and Endeavor Talent continue unabated and the deal now appears to hinge on matters of "top billing."

The merger has the support of the top players such as Jim Wiatt at WMA and Ari Emanuel at Endeavor who believe that the merger will create a new company that would emphasize the strengths of both agencies The deal faces internal resistance however, both from the rank and file at both agencies, many of whom may face unemployment after a merger.

Resistance has also developed at the top and according to the Los Angeles Times, principals at both agencies — 20 directors at William Morris and 26 partners at Endeavor — are about equally divided on the merger.

According to the LA Times Endeavor has made it clear that the firm's four managing partners — Emanuel, Patrick Whitesell, Rick Rosen and Adam Venit — must remain in charge for the merger to fly. William Morris's board would find this loss of control difficult to accede to as it may well mean they will find themselves out of a job after the merger completes.

Resistance to the deal is also coming from William Morris's music division which reps possibly the strongest roster in the music biz and has in recent years, accounted for a sizable chunk of WMA's bottom line and doesn't want to fall under Endeavor's modest music department.

The uncertainty is not productive for both firms however and according to the LA Times, rival agencies have been making overtures to both clients and agents and the possibility of a merger may well pressure rivals to look to acquiring smaller agencies to stay competitive. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers