Adam Bold Sued Amid Gersh Sale Talks – The Hollywood Reporter

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A3 Artists Agency is allegedly locked in a “state of chaos” as it confronts an “exodus of agents and their clients” to competing firms because of majority owner Adam Bold’s mismanagement of company funds, sexual misconduct and drug abuse, according to a complaint that has been filed seeking to block the sale of company’s most profitable divisions to rival Gersh.

Agency partners Robert Attermann and Brian Cho, in a lawsuit filed on Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claim that they were duped into signing away their ability to stop the merger by Bold, who’s allegedly been shopping the agency for months at a figure they say is well-below market value.

“It has become exceedingly clear that Bold intends to siphon the proceeds of the A3 sale to himself and drive what remains of a once-great company into bankruptcy,” states the complaint. “In such a scenario, the remaining employees would lose their jobs, and the other equity holders, Attermann and Cho, would be left empty-handed.”

A3 declined to comment, while Bold didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Since Bold and a management team of Atterman and Cho bought the agency then known as Abrams Artists Agency from founder Harry Abrams in 2018, its agent ranks have grown from about 50 to roughly 80. After the closing of CAA’s megadeal for rival ICM, the firm, which rebranded as A3 Artists Agency in 2020, has been looking to expand in a bid among the midsize firm to stay competitive. Its roster of clients includes Fred Hechinger (The White Lotus), Kim Joo-ryoung (Squid Game), Carl Weathers (The Mandalorian), singer/hyphenate Lance Bass and former Writers Guild West president David A. Goodman.

Before this year, the suit says that significant decisions concerning A3 largely had to be approved by board members. But in May, Bold allegedly strongarmed Attermann and Cho into amending an agreement that gave him the sole discretion to negotiate the sale of the firm by threatening to fire them. They were also allegedy told that Bold “would never sell A3 for anything less than $60 million” and that they would each get at least $5 million as part of the sale. But Bold was already “shopping A3 at a valuation well below” that figure while informing competitors that the agency had a “bad business model,” the suit claims.

“Bold deliberately misrepresented the present value of the company to induce Cho and Attermann to agree to terms stripping them of their power,” the complaint states.

In September, Bold agreed in principle to merger between A3 and Gersh, says the suit, which notes that neither Cho nor the board was involved in the negotiations. According to the complaint, A3’s most profitable divisions — digital and unscripted — along with its top agents are part of the deal. Gersh agents are now allegedly pursuing A3 clients based on the information.

After the merger is finalized, the suit alleges that Bold “will take the proceeds from any such sale and pay himself back,” while driving A3 into bankruptcy. Attermann and Cho say that the firm is in severe financial distress due to “wild spending” from Bold, who allegedly bought every agent a Rolex and encouraged them to “spend lavishly to impress clients,” on top of spending millions renovating the firm’s New York office and hiring a team of new agents at above market rate salaries at the height of the pandemic.

The suit also alleges that Bold has “sexually harassed nearly all” of the firm’s female employees, “fired those he deemed unattractive” and “creeped out” workers with lewd remarks about his dating preferences. The result allegedly has been a series of confidential settlements stemming from suits from employees who sued over harassment and hostile work environment. Attermann and Cho argue that Bold settling the suits without first bringing them to the board constitutes a breach of fiduciary duty.

The complaint claims fraud, negligent misrepresentation and several other claims relating to alleged breaches of contract. It looks for a temporary restraining order blocking the sale and barring Bold from further disclosing trade secrets to competitors until the case is resolved.

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