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HomeBollywoodSimon Cowell's Agent YMU Confirms Permira Sale, Financial Restructure

Simon Cowell’s Agent YMU Confirms Permira Sale, Financial Restructure

EXCLUSIVE: YMU, the UK agency that reps Simon Cowell, Graham Norton, and Nicole Scherzinger, has confirmed its sale to private equity company Permira under a £60M ($76M) deal.

Permira has taken full control of YMU’s newly-created parent company Yokozuna Newco Limited, with Trilantic Europe exiting the agency after five years, according to financial filings.

Under the deal, Permira has converted £32.9M of YMU debt into Yokozuna shares and canceled a further £16M of debt. Permira also made a credit facility of £10M available to YMU.

YMU is understood to have created a new management incentive plan that will give its senior leadership team, including CEO Mary Bekhait, an equity stake in the agency.

As part of YMU’s financial restructure, Lloyds Bank has made a £16M debt facility available to YMU, $12M of which is valued in dollars.

In its latest earnings, YMU said the restructure, which included making 9% of its 350 employees redundant last year, had put the agency on a surer financial footing following pandemic “challenges.”

With the backing of Permira, Deadline hears that the company is now looking for acquisitions. In 2022, YMU acquired Digital Sports Mgmt, a gaming and sports marketing agency, for as much as £18.8M.

YMU has operations in the UK and U.S., with clients across TV, music, and the influencer realm. Clients include British presenters Ant and Dec, The Traitors UK host Claudia Winkleman, and YouTube star Amelia Dimoldenberg. It also represents Paris Hilton’s music career.

YMU’s revenue stood at £41.6M in the year to the end of 2022, which was a marginal increase on £41.4M the previous year, according to earnings published on Companies House. Adjusted EBITDA, YMU’s preferred measure of profit, was down 87% to £1.38M. The company’s pre-tax loss was £16.3M.

Bekhait said: “This new phase in our ongoing partnership with Permira will unlock the next wave of the group’s development, allowing us to identify and capture new opportunities for existing and future clients.”

Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of Elon Musk’s X, was named chair of YMU last year. She said: “YMU’s potential is limitless. Mary and the YMU leadership team, alongside Permira, have successfully established an investment partnership that will initiate the company’s next phase of growth.”

Sam Gross and Daniel Hatcher, Managing Directors at Permira Credit, said: “As longstanding partners with YMU Group, our decision to further our investment is rooted in our belief in the group’s unique position and potential. We look forward to a deepened relationship with management and supporting the group in seizing growth opportunities ahead.”

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