Ophir Lupu has exited UTA after more than 10 years as a partner and the agency’s head of video games.
The split is said to be amicable. When reached by Variety, Lupu declined to comment. He’s expected to pursue other business opportunities in the fast-growing gaming sector. Lupu made UTA a prominent player in video gaming, and he is highly regarded by colleagues for his strategic focus and entrepreneurial skills.
Lupu joined UTA from CAA in 2011. He represented top gaming clients such as Ken Levine, who directed “BioShock” and “BioShock Infinite” for publisher 2K Games, as well as international developers like Playdead, the Danish studio known for “Limbo” and “Inside.”
Lupu also brought UTA’s existing talent over to the gaming realm, having helped “Rick and Morty” co-creator Justin Roiland set up Squanch Games. That company released “Trover Saves the Universe” in 2019 and has first-person-shooter “High on Life” due in October for Xbox consoles.
In addition to representing game studios, Lupu also helped raise capital and negotiate M&A deals for gaming entities, aiding “Don’t Starve” developer Klei Entertainment in selling a majority stake of itself to Tencent in 2021.
Other investments of Lupu for UTA included esports organization Cloud9, which has been a big presence in “League of Legends” competitions. In 2018, Lupu greatly expanded UTA’s esports footprint via the acquisitions of Press X and Everyday Influencers, which added 90 professional esports athletes and livestreaming personalities to the UTA portfolio.
UTA hasn’t slowed its push into gaming. In December 2021, UTA started a new $230 million SPAC, UTA Acquisition Corp., with the aim of pursuing further acquisitions of gaming-related companies and appointed former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé as its chairman. Lupu served as president of the SPAC before his departure.