Top Hollywood Talent Shops OK Merger

As star payouts dip, William Morris and Endeavor join forces
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2009 6:40 PM CDT
Actress Jill Hennessy, Chief Executive Officer Jim Wiatt of William Morris Agency and Paolo Mastropietro schmooze at MoMA on May 12, 2008 in New York City.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Two of Hollywood's top talent agencies agreed to merge today amid declining revenues in film and television, Variety reports. Pending government approval, the venerable William Morris Agency will share a new Beverly Hills office with 14-year-old Endeavor—and likely spark a flurry of clients and agents scurrying for new representation.

The new mega-agency will build on WMA's influence in music and literature and Endeavor's focus on film and television. Called William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, the company is expected lay off about 100 agents, most from WMA's ranks. The deal "hung by a thread" only last month, Nikki Finke writes in Deadline Hollywood Daily: Endeavor was more reluctant to merge "because of fears there was too much risk and not enough upside."