Marking another expansion move by a major Hollywood talent agency, UTA has acquired N.S. Bienstock, the preeminent indie outfit representing TV news talent.
Deal expands the scope of UTA in an area where the agency previously had very little presence. Bienstock’s client roster includes such heavyweights as Bill O’Reilly, Anderson Cooper, Robin Roberts, Megyn Kelly, Glenn Beck, Norah O’Donnell and Lara Logan. The agency also reps a significant number of other hosts, producers and production entities prominent in the unscripted TV business.
UTA’s acquisition of Bienstock underscores the changing times for Hollywood largest percenteries, which are under pressure to diversify. The Bienstock buy comes on the heels of WME’s $2.4 billion purchase of sports-centered IMG Worldwide.
Financial details of the UTA-Bienstock deal were not disclosed. It’s understood that UTA financed the acquisition on its own without a partner.
UTA said N.S. Bienstock will continue to operate out of New York as an autonomous unit, retaining its moniker and headed by founders and co-presidents Richard Leibner and Carole Cooper, who are married. Leibner and Cooper will become special advisors to UTA’s board, while Bienstock’s Jonathan Leibner and Adam Leibner, sons of Richard Leibner and Carole Cooper, have been named UTA partners. UTA managing director Jay Sures will oversee the relationship between the percenteries.
“We are excited to expand our representation platform with N.S. Bienstock,” said UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer. “UTA will continue to seek new opportunities that offer artists and other professionals the best and broadest representation. As the entertainment, media, news and technology industries comingle in new and exciting ways, we see tremendous potential for broadcast news talent across every conceivable media platform.”
Bienstock has about 40 staffers in total, about half of which are agents. Sures emphasized that the two agencies have similar approaches when it comes to repping clients.
“We share the same strong belief in the clients-first approach with Richard, Carole and the entire N.S. Bienstock team, and we believe the complementary strengths and resources that UTA brings to the table will be a tremendous benefit to present and future N.S. Bienstock clients,” Sures said.
Richard Leibner said, “Aligning with UTA and utilizing their global reach and resources while still retaining our personal touch is a significant step forward in the growth and evolution of N.S. Bienstock.”
Bienstock was launched in 1964. Richard Leibner made headlines in 1980 for orchestrating what was then a blockbuster seven-figure pact for Dan Rather to succeed Walter Cronkite as anchor of “The CBS Evening News.”
Pictured: Bill O’Reilly, Anderson Cooper, Robin Roberts