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"The ability to tap into Rich’s superior experience and his keen understanding of the international entertainment marketplace will prove to be an incredible asset as The Firm continues to evolve into a global media company."
——Kwatinetz and Yorn on The Firm's merger with IEP

THE FIRM, INTEGRATED ENTERTAINMENT PARNTERS MERGE

Former Disney Studios President Rich Frank Appointed to Newly Created Chairman Post

Integrated Entertainment Partners, founded last year by former Walt Disney Studios Chariman and Comcast C3 Chairman Rich Frank, has merged with talent management/brand building enterprise The Firm.

Frank has been named Chairman of the merged companies, to retain the name The Firm. Firm founder and CEO Jeff Kwatinetz will continue to serve in his current role, as will Partner Rick Yorn. Both will retain their Co-Chairman titles. Board member Julie Yorn will continue to head the company’s film and TV arm, Firm Films.

IEP consults with major marketers regarding placement of their brands in media opportunities including film and TV. The combination is expected to bolster The Firm’s goal of defining the intersection of entertainment and advertising in the years ahead.

"Rich’s leadership ability and talent for broad strategic thinking has been well documented," said Kwatinetz and Yorn in a joint statement. "The ability to tap into Rich’s superior experience and his keen understanding of the international entertainment marketplace will prove to be an incredible asset as The Firm continues to evolve into a global media company. We enthusiastically welcome him to our team."

"What we’ve learned the last year with IEP is that all of the media models are changing, and that no clear path to the future is going to just emerge from the confusion—it’s going to have to be created," said Frank. "I’ve known Jeff for 20 years, personally. He’s one of the most energetic, creative and talented people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. He, Rick, Julie and their team
have built an organization that has a true and measurable understanding of pop culture and how to influence it—something that every brand wants and needs. Joining IEP with The Firm gives us the necessary tools, talent and scope to lead the change, not just observe it."

Frank, who has broad experience in television, will also contribute to The Firm’s television and film operations.

IEP principal Mitch Kanner will also join The Firm to assist with the brand division. In this capacity, Kanner will work closely with Firm President/COO Dave Baram. IEP’s Christopher Gebhardt will also join The Firm in an integrated marketing position.

"We don't believe that record companies should be controlling how and where the musicians' brands are used," Kwatinetz tells the Wall Street Journal. "We believe the musicians should."

Regarding how the two companies will work together, Frank tells the New York Times, "To tell you we had an exact answer would not tell you the truth. This is a business model that will evolve in fits and starts over the coming year. We will try new models with each new deal we're putting together.''

Frank, a long-time executive at Disney, was Chairman of Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications and Disney’s syndication arm Buena Vista as well as the President of Walt Disney Studios. Rich was also President of the Paramount Television Group and of Chris Craft Television. He was President of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for an unprecedented six years, a board member of the MPAA for eight, and is currently an executive board member of the American Film Institute. Before founding IEP in 2003, Frank served as Chairman of C3 for Brian Roberts’ Comcast Corp. where, among other things, he acquired the E! Entertainment Network and initiated a programming overhaul that substantially increased the network’s value.

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