Q PRIME-BURKLE AND OTHER RUMORS, UPDATED

Could word that Q Prime no longer reps Red Hot Chili Peppers scuttle a potential deal between the management company and billionaire supermarket magnate Ron Burkle?

Rumors ricocheting around the biz had the financier preparing to buy all or part of the management company. We also reported that Q Prime was said to be valued at around $80m.

The Peppers—having reunited with longtime guitarist John Frusciante—are due to embark on what should be a gigantic tour as soon as circumstances permit; several European and other dates are slated for the summer of 2021.

In 2012, Burkle purchased Dennis Arfa’s Artist Group International, which books marquee Q Prime client Metallica, among other superstars. Via Paradigm, he partnered with CODA and Steve Strange’s X-ray in 2017; his other media investments include boutique agency APA, branded-entertainment firm Three Lions Entertainment and (most recently) festival producer Danny Wimmer Presents. He was also said to be angling for the deal with Tom Gores-funded Paradigm before Casey Wasserman secured it. (We’re told that deal will close by month’s end, with several key agents remaining under short-term deals.)

In other news circulating around the agency world, a press release from WME noting the exit of Brent Smith has raised eyebrows with what many observers feel was a vindictive tone. “Following an investigation based on complaints of bullying behavior by Brent Smith,” the brief announcement reads, “WME and Brent have mutually decided to part ways.” Speculation was that Smith, who is well liked by many important artists and managers, had already been planning to leave WME, but insiders wonder if that alone was reason to go there as the agency did.

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