US talent agency ICM has recapitalized as part of its expansionstrategy in a deal financed by Connecticut investor Suhail Rizvi's RizviTraverse Management and Merrill Lynch's Asset Based Finance Group.

Terms of the deal remain confidential. What is known, however, is thatthe deal will allow agency chief Jeff Berg to develop ICM's internationalambitions and expand the core business units covering film, television,publishing and music.

"This recapitalization demonstrates our commitment to the continuedgrowth of our agency, both in the domestic and overseas marketplace," Berg, whoreinvested in ICM and remains the biggest individual shareholder, said.

"This investment will allow us to accelerate the execution of ourplan and continue to deliver the value we promise our clients - bringingthem the most innovative opportunities in the industry. At the same time, ICMwill remain a closely held firm backed by outstanding private and institutionalcapital."

Berg has also signed a long-term extension of his contract.

"We believe that ICM is now well placed to take advantage of anumber of valuable opportunities within the industry," Rizvi added. "We arepleased that we are able to participate in helping Jeff and the agency realizeits full market potential and deliver a broader, more comprehensive offer toits clients. All the pieces are now in place for ICM to broaden its platform ina market going through inevitable change."

"Merrill Lynch is pleased to have advised, structured andparticipated in the financing of this unique and innovative transaction,"Michael Blum, head of Merrill Lynch's Global Asset Based Finance Group, said.

"This represents yet another example of our leadership in theEntertainment Structured Finance space.We look forward to continuing our work with Jeff, Suhail and theirrespective teams in this dynamic market."

Allen and Company acted as investment bankers to ICM.