Cast & Crew Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Backstage Holdings

Combination creates end-to-end platform to streamline entertainment production and content creation

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Cast & Crew and Backstage to join as one.
       

BURBANK, Calif., Feb. 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Cast & Crew, a leading end-to-end cloud-based platform powering global entertainment production and content creation, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Backstage Holdings (“Backstage”), a leading provider of talent marketplace and content creation tools for the creative economy. This transaction brings together two companies with the shared mission of making content creation more efficient and effective at scale.

“This is a transformative acquisition for our company,” said John Berkley, Chief Executive Officer of Cast & Crew. “Cast & Crew has always been driven to solve the industry’s most challenging and complex problems. We believe that finding the best talent and creative resources is one of the most critical challenges in content creation today, and Backstage has proven themselves capable of making this difficult work so much easier for millions of industry participants. The addition of Backstage enhances the overall scope of our offerings and our ability to service the needs of studios, management companies, productions, and of course the talent and workforce that makes the magic happen. Together, we see a tremendous opportunity to deliver a true end-to-end platform for the array of companies and people working tirelessly to bring their creativity to life.”

Backstage is the industry’s leading subscription-based marketplace for freelancers and creators in the entertainment and creative industries. Backstage’s web and mobile-based offerings help content creators and producers find creative talent, while helping millions of aspiring creatives find work, build their networks, and advance their careers. Backstage also owns complementary properties such as Voice123, a specialized subscription-based marketplace for voice actors, Film Freeway, a tech-enabled submission platform for the world’s leading film festivals, and Industry Arts, the global leader for screenwriting resources. Backstage, a portfolio company of leading global growth private equity firm TA Associates, is based in New York, with approximately 160 employees worldwide.

Backstage will continue to operate as a distinct brand under the existing leadership of Josh Ellstein, who will assume the role of CEO, Backstage, and GM, Talent and Creative Solutions, and Michael Felman, who will assume the role of President, Backstage, and GM, Talent and Creative Solutions. Both will report directly to Mr. Berkley, with the shared vision of enhancing and expanding the combined company’s offerings to further modernize the industry’s creative and talent-related processes.

“Cast & Crew and Backstage have always been aligned in knowing that more can and must be done to make the work of content creation less burdensome and more rewarding,” said Mr. Ellstein and Mr. Felman in a joint statement. “Our respective businesses, cultures, people, products, and customer-focus make a perfect union in this endeavor. We are thrilled to join forces in striving to make our exciting industry even better for everyone–from large studios to independent content creators to vast community of aspiring talent in the world.”

This transaction represents Cast & Crew’s ninth acquisition since 2016 and fifth acquisition since the investment by EQT, Cast & Crew’s majority investor.

“This acquisition represents an important evolution in the growth of Cast & Crew, and even more importantly, for the industry as a whole. Combining Cast & Crew’s strengths in payroll, HR, accounting, and financial technology solutions with Backstage’s strength in talent and creative-related processes will result in benefits for the entire industry ecosystem. We are excited to welcome Josh, Mike, the entire Backstage community, and TA into the Cast & Crew family,” said Kasper Knokgaard, Partner at EQT.

The acquisition was financed with a combination of cash and stock and as part of the transaction, Jason Mironov, a Managing Director at TA, will join the Board of Directors of Cast & Crew. Other terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“For more than 50 years, Backstage has demonstrated a deep commitment to its members across every stage of the creative process. The combination with Cast & Crew will allow Backstage to accelerate innovation and be even more ambitious in tackling industry challenges,” said Mr. Mironov. “We are excited to continue this journey in collaboration with the team at Cast & Crew, and want to thank Josh, Mike, and the entire Backstage team for their hard work in reaching this significant milestone.”

The transaction’s closing remains subject to customary conditions and approvals.

Cast & Crew was represented by the law firm of Latham & Watkins, LLP and Backstage was represented by the law firm of Goodwin LLP. Moelis & Company LLC acted as exclusive financial adviser to Backstage.