Exclusive: AGI Acquired By Yucaipa
Exclusive: AGI Acquired By Yucaipa

Artist Group International (AGI), the leading independent music booking agency whose clients include Billy Joel, Metallica, Rod Stewart, Linkin Park, Rush, Def Leppard, Rammstein, Motley Crue, Volbeat and Hollywood Undead, has been acquired by the Yucaipa Companies' newly formed music and entertainment vehicle, Y Entertainment Group LLC.

AGI was founded 25 years ago by Dennis Arfa, who will continue to lead the agency as CEO. AGI is perennially ranked among the top five music agencies in the business, based on numbers reported to Billboard Boxscore, and has been a finalist for the Top Agency award at the Billboard Touring Awards several times.

Arfa tells Billboard.biz that the entire New York-based AGI staff will remain intact, and the company will continue to operate autonomously under its new ownership. "We're all looking forward to the next several years together," he says. While he declined to divulge the sale price, Arfa did say he was "very happy, and any agent in the music business would be, too."

Arfa, along with his veteran staff of highly regarded agents, are known for long-term relationships with artists. Arfa has represented Joel for more than 35 years, and AGI and responsible agent Adam Kornfeld have booked Metallica for more than 20 years, for example.

The Yucaipa Companies formed Y Entertainment Group LLC earlier this year as the investment firm's music and entertainment vehicle. Y Entertainment Group LLC is headed by longtime entertainment, investment banking and management executive, CEO Rick Stevens. Founded in 1986 by Ron Burkle, the firm has completed mergers and acquisitions valued at more than $30 billion.

At this point, Arfa prefers to play it close to the vest as to the specific strategy for AGI in this new era for the firm, but did say that strategy "would become clear in the coming months."