SBJ/October 10-16, 2011/Labor and Agents

Lagardère Unlimited acquires business of basketball agent Bauman

Lagardère Unlimited has acquired the business of veteran basketball agent David Bauman, whose clients include former No. 1 NBA draft pick Andrew Bogut and Metta World Peace, in a move that will strengthen Lagardère’s NBA practice.

NBAE / GETTY IMAGES
Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) is among David Bauman’s eight NBA clients.
Terms were not disclosed. Bauman will work with agent Dan Fegan, Lagardère’s president of basketball, and it is not known whether the deal includes what is known as “a key man clause,” which would allow Bauman to leave Lagardère if Fegan were to leave. Fegan’s deal with Lagardère will be up in July, sources said.

Neither Fegan nor Bauman would comment on the specifics of their deals, but both said Bauman’s move to Lagardère was a sign that the big agency model, as opposed to the boutique model, is the future of the agent business.

Bauman, who got his start in the business in 1992 working at FAME for David Falk, the most powerful agent of the 1990s, has also held senior positions at the former SFX Sports.

Fegan called Bauman’s client list of eight NBA players very strong but said the greatest asset in the purchase is Bauman himself, who he said will blossom in the structure of the large firm into one of the best agents in the business.

Fegan’s clients include Dwight Howard, John Wall, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion and Nenê. Lagardère acquired Fegan’s practice last summer when it acquired Blue Entertainment Sports Television, which Fegan had joined in 2008.

Lagardère Unlimited COO Kevin O’Connor said in an email, “David’s client list is a microcosm of our own powerful client list — he represents a former No. 1 overall pick (Bogut), several All-Stars ([Peja] Stojakovic and Ron Artest/Metta World Peace), a first-team All-Rookie (Gary Neal) and several budding stars such as Jodie Meeks and Devin Ebanks.” O’Connor also pointed to Bauman’s experience representing European players, both in the NBA and Europe.

O’Connor said the NBA lockout was not a consideration in the acquisition of Bauman’s practice. As to further potential acquisitions, O’Connor wrote, “We are always looking at new opportunities and agents in all different sports to see whether it would be beneficial to join our platform.”

Lagardère Unlimited is owned by Lagardère Group, a multinational conglomerate based in France.

Bauman and Fegan said the acquisition came after about two years of conversations. “I started talking to Dan a couple of years ago in Las Vegas during the summer league,” Bauman said. “I was curious about his vision for the future of our business.”

Both Bauman and Fegan said they talked about how the old-time one-man agency business is not something they see succeeding in the future. They talked about how CAA was able to negotiate deals that made the Miami Heat an NBA Finals contender when the Heat collected CAA clients LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh last year, Bauman said.

“The day of the mom-and-pop shops has seen its golden age,” Bauman said. “I think the future of our business is going to be a few very large representation groups.”
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