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November 2nd, 2005 via ScreenDaily

US talent agency ICM has recapitalized as part of its expansion strategy in a deal financed by Connecticut investor Suhail Rizvi’s Rizvi Traverse Management and Merrill Lynch’s Asset Based Finance Group.

Terms of the deal remain confidential. What is known, however, is that the deal will allow agency chief Jeff Berg to develop ICM’s international ambitions and expand the core business units covering film, television, publishing and music.

“This recapitalization demonstrates our commitment to the continued growth of our agency, both in the domestic and overseas marketplace,” Berg, who reinvested in ICM and remains the biggest individual shareholder, said.

“This investment will allow us to accelerate the execution of our plan and continue to deliver the value we promise our clients – bringing them the most innovative opportunities in the industry. At the same time, ICM will remain a closely held firm backed by outstanding private and institutional capital.”

Berg has also signed a long-term extension of his contract.

“We believe that ICM is now well placed to take advantage of anumber of valuable opportunities within the industry,” Rizvi added. “We are pleased that we are able to participate in helping Jeff and the agency realize its full market potential and deliver a broader, more comprehensive offer to its clients. All the pieces are now in place for ICM to broaden its platform in a market going through inevitable change.”

“Merrill Lynch is pleased to have advised, structured and participated in the financing of this unique and innovative transaction,” Michael Blum, head of Merrill Lynch’s Global Asset Based Finance Group, said.

“This represents yet another example of our leadership in the Entertainment Structured Finance space. We look forward to continuing our work with Jeff, Suhail and their respective teams in this dynamic market.”

Allen and Company acted as investment bankers to ICM.

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