Pinault may buy big slice of CAA pie


CAA in talks to sell majority stake Image: Coliseum GSVA

Hollywood talent agency – Creative Artists Agency (CAA) (US) – is in advanced talks to sell a majority stake to François-Henri Pinault, the French billionaire behind the luxury and fashion empire Kering, industry sources stated.

‘VARIETY’ stated that the deal would value CAA, which was founded in 1975 and is backed by the Texas Pacific Group (TPG), at $7 billion.

The Creative Artists Agency LLC is an American talent and sports agency based in Los Angeles, California, US. It is regarded as an influential company in the talent agency business and manages numerous clients. In March 2016, CAA had 1,800 employees.

Positioned at the nexus of talent, content, brands, technology, sports, and live events, CAA creates limitless opportunities for the storytellers, trendsetters, icons, and thought leaders who shape popular culture. Across film, television, music, sports, digital media, marketing, and beyond, CAA represent thousands of the world’s leading actors, directors, writers, producers, musical artistes, comedians, authors, athletes, coaches, broadcasters, teams, leagues, chefs, designers, fashion talent, consumer brands, and more.

A division of CAA Sports, Denver, Colorado (US)-based CAA ICON is the industry-leading owner’s representative and strategic management consulting firm for public/private sports and entertainment facility owners and operations, professional franchises and leagues.

François-Henri Pinault is a French businessman, the Chairman and head honcho of Kering since 2005, and the President of Groupe Artémis since 2003. Under his leadership, the retail conglomerate PPR was transformed into the luxury fashion group Kering.

Kering is a France-based multinational corporation specializing in luxury goods. It owns the brands Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, and Yves Saint Laurent.

Groupe Artémis S.A. is a holding company with a portfolio of investments in fashion, wine, luxury, art, tourism, publishing, sports, food, and technology. Headquartered in Paris, France, Groupe Artémis was founded by François Pinault in 1992 as a family investment vehicle.

The TPG Inc., previously known as the Texas Pacific Group and TPG Capital, is an American private equity firm based in Fort Worth, Texas, US. The firm is focused on leveraged buyouts and growth capital. TPG manages investment funds in growth capital, venture capital, public equity, and debt investments.

‘VARIETY’ further stated that a spokesperson for Pinault and his investment vehicle Artémis declined to comment on the above development. A representative for Kering, meanwhile, denied any involvement of the group. The CAA declined to comment.

Rumors of a pending sale between CAA and Pinault have emerged at a critical time for Hollywood and for talent.

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) confirmed recently that it would go on a strike against the film and TV companies that comprise the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), joining the Writers Guild of America (WGA) which has been on the picket line (strike) since May 2nd. It marks only the second time in Hollywood history that actors have joined writers on the picket lines.

Los Angeles, California (US)-based the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) is an American labor union representing approximately 160,000 media professionals worldwide.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) is a trade association based in Sherman Oaks, California (US) which represents over 350 American television and film production companies in collective bargaining negotiations with the entertainment industry trade unions.

The Writers Guild of America is the joint efforts of two different American labor unions representing writers in film, television, radio, and online media: The Writers Guild of America, East, headquartered in New York City and the Writers Guild of America West, headquartered in Los Angeles.

Under the guidelines of the SAG-AFTRA strike, union actors aren’t able to attend premieres, do interviews for completed work, go to awards shows, attend film festivals or even promote projects on social media until a deal is reached.

An Artémis acquisition of CAA would bring Kering closer to the entertainment world. The luxury group has already made headway in the film landscape in recent years, becoming a major sponsor of the Cannes Film Festival and organizing Women in Motion program that showcases inspiring female actors, filmmakers and producers. This year’s Kering Award, handed out in partnership with Cannes, was given to Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh (Malaysian actor) during a star-studded gala dinner attended by the American actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Paul Dano, among others. Pinault has also been immersed in the film biz for many years through his wife Salma Hayek Pinault – Mexican-American actor, filmmaker and activist.

One of Kering’s key brands, Saint Laurent, also launched its film production vehicle, headed by its artistic director Anthony Vaccarello, during the Cannes Film Festival. The banner’s first credits include ‘Strange Way of Life’ by Pedro Almodóvar (Spanish film Director) starring the American actor Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal (Chilean-American actor).

Becoming part of Artémis would also give CAA a strong French footprint. The agency has already been ramping up its business in Europe and is involved in several outfits overseas.

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