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CAA Buys Fermata Partners, Bulking Up in the Sports World

A year and a half after WME’s blockbuster purchase of sports-centric IMG Worldwide, the agency’s biggest rival, CAA, continues to move to beef up its own foothold in the sports world.

That trend continued in the last week with CAA’s acquisition of Fermata Partners, an Atlanta-based sports licensing agency that has been battling WME/IMG for deals with college sports powerhouses.

An acquisition of undisclosed terms makes Fermata into a CAA subsidiary. In less than three years since its formation, Fermata has signed licensing deals with four major universities – Kentucky, Miami, Oregon and, starting July 1, Georgia.

Fermata is just one of several firms emerging as a player in the college sports space, which has become increasingly competitive, particularly as some universities and conferences attempt to cut out the middle men and do their own licensing and media rights deals.

Fermata also represents multiple Premier League soccer teams, including Liverpool F.C. and Tottenham Hotspur. The firm recently announced deals with the Churchill Downs racetrack and the premiere event held there each May, the Kentucky Derby.

CAA Sports co-head Michael Levine lauded Fermata’s “world-class” capabilities and the market share the firm has achieved in less than three years.

Fermata managing director Derek Eiler said in a statement that the company’s quick success had given it many growth options, but it went with CAA “to align with a strategic, globally connected, and well-capitalized partner, while preserving our focus on serving premier brands seeking unparalleled expertise on their consumer products businesses.”

Eiler and three other founding partners — Scott Bouyack, Chris Prindiville and Kit Walsh — signed long-term employment deals to remain with the company, which will remain based in Atlanta.

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