EXCLUSIVE: Management/production companies 3 Arts and Untitled Entertainment are in merger talks. I’m not certain they are going to join forces, but they are exploring it seriously. The potential mix of assets of the two companies is intriguing. 3 Arts — run by Erwin Stoff, Michael Rotenberg, Howard Klein, David Miner and Dave Becky – is particularly strong in the producing department. On the TV side, that includes 30 Rock, The Office, Parks and Recreation, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, HBO’s Bored to Death, and the FX comedy Louie. Among the features is I Am Legend, Street Kings, and All You Need Is Kill, the latter a priority project at Warner Bros that just got Doug Liman aboard to direct.
Untitled, which is run by Jason Weinberg, Stephanie Simon, Guy Oseary, Gene Parseghian and Johnnie Planco, has a strong talent list that include Daniel Day-Lewis, Hilary Swank, Alex Rodriguez, Madonna, Naomi Watts, David Caruso, Penelope Cruz, Ashton Kutcher, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Chris O’Donnell, Taylor Kitsch, Demi Moore, Blake Lively and Simon Baker.
The 3 Arts talent list includes Keanu Reeves, Tina Fey, director Francis Lawrence, Robert Pattinson, Chris Evans, Steve Coogan, Mike Judge, Greg Daniels, Jeff Garlin, Howie Mandel, Tracy Morgan, Amy Poehler, Jason Bateman and Cuba Gooding Jr.
I’m told the principals continue talking, mindful of the challenge in meshing cultures and forging a new power structure. Word about the possible union has begun to spread around Hollywood and I’m told that if a trip to the altar is going to happen, they’ll know by Labor Day. Untitled’s Weinberg–who has previously talked to other firms about a linkup–didn’t immediately return my call. 3 Arts’ Stoff did. While he didn’t answer the merger question head on, he didn’t deny it and his response certainly indicates to me that something is afoot.
“We are always interesting in exploring opportunities which can expand the scope and breadth of our business,” Stoff told me. “We have had a great relationship with the partners at Untitled for a decade and have admired the business they’ve built.” Stay tuned.