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ICM For Sale (Slightly Used)

Jan. 30 2008, Published 8:04 a.m. ET

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Is International Creative Management ChairmanJeff Berg cashing in his chips? According to a sourceclose to Wall Street investment bank Allen & Co., the 58-year-old talentagency mogul has been in talks with the white shoe firm about selling or merging his company. A top Hollywood studio player put itmore bluntly: “ICM is on the block.”

Hollywood Insiders say thephilosophy-spouting Berg is looking to divest himself from the agency to pursuemore contemplative endeavors than managing Tinseltown’s second-biggeststable of stars, which includes Mel Gibson, JenniferConnelly, Denzel Washington, and SofiaCoppola. We hear major West Coast players expect ICM’s for-salestatus to begin with a whisper campaign during Allen & Co.’s secretivemogul retreat in Sun Valley this week, an annual event that’s closed tothe press but open to anyone with a billion dollars and a private jet (the guestspeaker this year is reportedly Turkish Prime Minister Recep TayyipErdogan).

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While ICM spokesman David Shane dismissed word of thesale as “a rumor that is completely baseless,” an Allen & Co. representativeresponded to queries with a tantalizing, “There’s nothing I can tellyou right now.” If the sale does go through, however, it’s a safebet that rival talent agency William Morris will not be one of the bidders. Eversince the New Yorker’s embarrassing profile of agency presidentDave Wirtschafter caused a mass exodus of stars and agents fromthe company, sources say William Morris has been feeling the pinch. A onetimeWilliam Morris client who defected a few months ago said the agency “plansto refinance their headquarters in Beverly Hills to raise cash.” Theagency’s spokesman Chris Petrikin did not return callsfor comment by press time. Somewhere in L.A., the Prada-clad agents of CAA aregrinning demonically.



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