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Feb 24, 2020

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This Is Uncomfortable
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The Hollywood agency IPO that never happened

Kai Ryssdal and Sean McHenry Feb 11, 2020
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Ariel "Ari" Emanuel speaks onstage during Los Angeles LGBT Center's 48th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards on September 23, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

The Hollywood agency IPO that never happened

Kai Ryssdal and Sean McHenry Feb 11, 2020
Ariel "Ari" Emanuel speaks onstage during Los Angeles LGBT Center's 48th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards on September 23, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images
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Last fall, it looked like William Morris Endeavor, the Hollywood agency run by Ari Emanuel, was poised to make history as the first agency of its kind to go public. Instead, Wall Street’s interest in the company died on the eve of the planned IPO, and WME decided to postpone the listing indefinitely.

Richard Rushfield, editor of Hollywood newsletter The Ankler, wrote about WME’s failed IPO for Vanity Fair.

“The problem with agencies is that [it’s] a business based on relationships,” Rushfield told “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal. “And it’s very hard to monetize and put a value on relationships.”

To hear the full story about WME’s failed IPO, click the audio player above.

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