Banker of the Week: Kasper Knokgaard, Partner, EQT

  • The Insider’s Banker of the Week series appears in our weekday newsletter, 10 Things on Wall Street.
  • This week, we’re spotlighting Kasper Knokgaard, who just closed an investment for EQT in entertainment company United Talent Agency.
  • This is Knokgaard’s second investment in the film industry, following the acquisition of Cast & Crew by EQT.

Kasper Knokgaard has done his due diligence in the entertainment industry for years. In 2018, private equity firm EQT, of which Knokgaard is a partner, acquired Cast & Crew, a payroll provider for film and television productions.

Knokgaard said the purchase of Cast & Crew gave EQT insight into the content, from TV shows to blockbuster movies, that was in the works and, to some extent, provided some insight into the next investment. of the private equity firm in the entertainment industry. Last month, EQT bought Investcorp’s stake in United Talent Agency, the Hollywood giant that represents stars like Angelina Jolie and Benedict Cumberbatch.

“The benefit of having Cast & Crew, we can see what they produce. These great films don’t happen overnight,” said Knokgaard, an EQT partner and its global team leader. from the service industry, to Insider. “So we had a strong belief in the growth of the market.”

Indeed, the entertainment industry has changed remarkably since the pandemic led to people consuming TV and movies from home, and through many streaming services run by upstarts like Netflix and heavily funded entities. like Disney and Amazon.

Through exposure to Cast & Crew – and inside track on productions and expenses – Knokgaard was confident that talent was the linchpin of these studios to ensure they produced the best content. Consumers’ insatiable appetite for new content, from professional sports to reality TV, was yet another reason to justify an investment in UTA.

“There are more options, more offerings for competing eyeballs, and we have more ways to consume entertainment, whether it’s TV, cellphone or iPad,” Knokgaard said. “Now with so much different content to produce, it means you need the talent to fill it all.”

The globalization of the entertainment space was another factor in Knokgaard’s desire for UTA. Netflix has seen success with Israeli shows like “Fauda” and South Korean hit “Squid Game,” and EQT sees an opportunity for UTA to tap into a global pool of acting talent.

“Once you have the talent, you have to navigate this global system. That’s why we needed a big agency that has the scale, the networks and the power,” he said.

EQT – which has approx. $79 billion in assets under management — invested in UTA through its EQT X fund. It is now the talent agency’s largest outside shareholder.

Jeremy Zimmer co-founded UTA in 1991 and remains the company’s chief executive to this day.

Knokgaard joined EQT in 2007 and has held stints in its offices in Copenhagen, New York and Munich.

The Banker of the Week series is featured on Insider’s 10 Things on Wall Street — sign up here to receive the newsletter every weekday morning.

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