Former ICM chief launches talent and literary agency

Veteran Hollywood talent agent Jeff Berg has launched a talent and literary agency dubbed Resolution, with backing from an Arizona private investment firm.

Berg, who served for nearly three decades as chairman and chief executive of International Creative Management, will be chairman of the new agency. He will be joined by Jeff Franklin, a film and television producer and music agent, who will serve as chief operating officer. Franklin and his former agency, ATI, represented such artists as Neil Young, AC/DC, Marvin Gaye, Ozzy Osbourne and the Beach Boys.

The new agency will seek to represent talent in film and television, publishing, theater and music — including booking concert tours — although Berg declined to state which ATI clients would join him at Resolution. The agency will help raise money to finance independent and studio productions, and sell domestic and foreign films into new markets. It also will look to represent libraries and catalogs for sale.

"As the market has gotten consolidated, and companies have gotten bigger, we asked the question: 'What does that mean for the artist? What does that mean for the client?'" Berg said. "The theme I found repeated time and again [was] 'We want to find something more containable.' That's why we embarked on this."

Najafi Cos. — a Phoenix firm whose chief executive, Jahm Najafi, is vice chairman of the Phoenix Suns basketball team — is Berg's primary partner and shareholder in Resolution. The firm has provided about $200 million in operating capital and available funds to expand the business, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation, who requested anonymity.

The company has a variety of entertainment holdings, including operating investments in Cinram, a maker of optical discs, and Direct Brands Inc., a company that includes music, DVD and book club brands such as Columbia House DVD, Doubleday Book Club, and the Book of the Month Club.

"There is no smarter, strategic and knowledgeable agent than Jeff Berg," Najafi said in an emailed statement. "We look forward to sharing and building this progressive agency in an evolving entertainment marketplace."

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