Football’s biggest agency sold to to US firm in multi-billion pound takeover

The biggest football agency has been bought in a multi-billion takeover.

US firm ICM Partners, whose headquarters are in Los Angeles, have acquired the Stellar Group in a deal which is huge news within the football industry.

Wales superstar Gareth Bale, England’s three keepers – Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope and Dean Henderson – and Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish are among Stellar’s list of 800 clients with their contracts worth nearly £2.5billion.

Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett is one of the biggest and most respected names in football as he was co-founder and one of the first recognised agents.

Barnett, 70, has signed a long-term contract with ICM and will become Executive Chairman of ICM Stellar Sports and his business partner David Manasseh will run the day-to-day operation.

ICM Partners are a huge talent agency and are best known for representing a host of Hollywood stars, Golden Globe and Emmy winners, including British actress Olivia Colman.

The deal will enable ICM to expand their sporting operation, move into the European market and for Stellar it is another pathway into the US as they already have NFL players on their books and 130 staff.

Barnett was named the top sports agent in the world in 2019 by Forbes magazine and he will now work alongside Chris Silbermann, chief executive of ICM Partners.

Barnett brokered a world record deal in 2013 for Bale to move to Real Madrid and has also just overseen his return to Tottenham and is one of the most recognisable and high profile agents in football.

Barnett said: “In Chris Silbermann and ICM Partners we have found the ideal partner to help our clients further their earning potential in an ever flattening world where athletes are brands with global appeal across numerous off the field revenue streams, which ICM will help us cultivate and exploit.

“They share our enthusiasm to enrich our client’s opportunities as well as expand our North American representation business which is very exciting for us.”

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Silbermann added: “With connectivity speeding the process, the sports, entertainment, music, media and publishing worlds have converged. Clients have greater opportunities than ever before to be multi-dimensional, multi-media brands.

“Aligning our wonderful and talented entertainment clients with Stellar’s premiere athletes is a powerful combination.

"Together we will be even better positioned to maximize this convergence and generate tremendous creative opportunities and financial upside for our global client base.

“In Jonathan Barnett, David Manasseh and the Stellar Group we have found the perfect partners and together we look forward to advancing our clients aspirations across the world.”

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