ICM Partners has acquired a majority interest in Royce Carlton, the New York-based speakers agency, in an effort to broaden the scope of its activity on the lecture circuit.
Royce Carlton will remain an autonomous banner within ICM. ICM’s existing lecture booking department will be folded into Royce Carlton. The enlarged operation will be headed by Jonathan Perelman, ICM’s head of digital and lectures, along with Carlton Sedgeley, founder of Royce Carlton, and executive VP Lucy Lepage Sedgeley.
“This is a perfectly timed, strategic move for us that assures our agents and staff, as well as our clients a long-term transition plan, while giving us access to more resources and clients to grow the agency while continuing to provide the best possible service to the people we represent,” said Sedgeley and Lepage, who are married.
ICM and Royce Carlton have a long history of working together on mutual clients, such as authors Ken Auletta and Thomas Friedman and actor Alan Alda. The acquisition was a natural progression of that relationship. Royce Carlton was founded in 1968 by Sedgeley and Lepage and at present has about 16 staffers.
“This is a business we really like and Royce Carlton is the preeminent agency of its kind,” ICM Partners chief Chris Silbermann told Variety. “Culturally they are a great fit for us. This is a case where we will grow this business to make one plus one equal three.”
Larger Hollywood tlent agencies are taking more interest in the potential of the lecture circuit in the quest to diversify beyond the core film, TV and music arenas. Last month, UTA set a deal to buy speakers agency Greater Talent Network.
For ICM, Perelman was the logical choice to drive the growth of the speakers department, in part because he has experience on the other side of the table as a client on the speaking circuit thanks to his past experience as a senior executive at Google and Buzzfeed. He’s been with ICM since 2015.
“The combination gives us a far greater footprint in the speakers’ world, and will enable significant growth for ICM Partners,” Perelman said.
The deal marks ICM’s second boutique acquisition this year. In March, the percentery bought Headline Media Management, which reps local and national TV news and sports personalities.