EXCLUSIVE: Little more than a month after finalizing the sale of its digital and alternative divisions to Gersh, A3 Artists Agency is closing its doors for good, Deadline has learned.
In a Friday afternoon email to staff reviewed by Deadline, A3 COO Todd Quinn said, “After careful consideration and evaluation of our circumstances, we regret to announce that A3 will be ceasing its ongoing operations effective end of day Monday, February 12, 2024.” Added Quinn, “This decision was not made lightly and comes after extensive analysis. Despite our best efforts, we find ourselves unable to continue operating in a sustainable manner.”
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Sources told Deadline that this was a unilateral decision on Bold’s part which caught everyone by surprise. The move brings to an end the run of an agency established (as Abrams Artists Agency) all the way back in 1977, which Adam Bold took over as Chairman in 2018. There’s still some administrative work to be done, we’re told, including the processing of checks. Additionally, sources said, there will be an effort to launch a new company and bring all agents and clients still with A3 under it.
Deadline was first to report that A3 was in talks to sell key divisions to Gersh back in September 2023. The deal was the first for Gersh following private equity firm Crestview Partners’ move to take 45% stake in the agency last May, and when it went through, it was announced that 25 A3 agents and around 45 additional staffers would be transitioning over. Jade Sherman joined Gersh to lead its new stand-alone digital business, with Alec Shankman coming aboard to oversee Alternative alongside senior agent and partner Debra Goldfarb. Other senior agents who went over included Keith Bielory, Mark Turner, Melissa DeMarco, Sam Schmidt, Marienor Madrilejo, Jared Thompson and Matt Sorger. The transition left around 100 people aboard at A3, if only for a brief moment.
If some saw the writing on the wall for A3 following the deal with Gersh, another harbinger of things to come was the bombshell lawsuit filed against Bold in December, which was designed in part to block his attempt to sell A3 off “for parts and create a golden paracute for himself,” as the suit described.
Filed against Bold, A3 and Superbrands Capital by A3 partners Robert Atterman and Brian Cho, who respectivel served as CEO and President of the company the suit (read it here) accused the Chairman of orchestrating “a campaign of chaos” within the agency, also alluding to his being a cocaine addict who created a toxic and hostile workplace through sexual harassment, and a spendthrift steering “what remains of a once-great company into bankruptcy.”
“In an astonishing run of terror, Bold has squandered everything: A3 is in a state of chaos and dissolution as its agents jump off the sinking ship and flee to A3 competitors, or wait in shock and fear for the next shoe to drop,” declared the 10-claim fraud and breach of contract complaint. “Remarkably, Bold has managed to alienate nearly every A3 employee, from its leadership down to its administrative staff, through a corrosive and toxic leadership style more emblematic of Nero than Bob Iger.”
The complaint sought a “temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction, and a permanent injunction” to stop Bold from taking A3 apart. In addition to a variety of damages, Atterman and Cho asked the L.A. courts to stop “Bold from disclosing any further confidential and trade secret information to A3’s competitors indefinitely.”
At the time of Deadline’s reporting on the lawsuit, Bold did not respond to request for comment.
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