PARIS – Confirming market speculation, French billionaire François-Henri Pinault has agreed to buy a majority stake in Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the powerhouse talent firm whose clients include Zendaya, Brad Pitt, Ryan Murphy and Tom Hanks, for an undisclosed sum, the two companies said Thursday.
Pinault, whose family controls the Kering luxury empire, is acquiring the shares previously held by private equity firm TPG through Artémis, the Pinault family’s investment company founded in 1992.
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CAA’s Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane and Richard Lovett pledged to continue leading Hollywood’s biggest talent agency, which was founded in 1975, and will remain co-chairmen of CAA.
Lourd is due to be named chief executive officer once the transaction is completed, while Jim Burtson, who led the CAA deal team, will remain president of the agency, which has its own fashion division representing designers, models and talent.
“Artémis is a strategic investor of the highest order, with global reach and resources across countless areas of our clients’ interests, a deeply sophisticated understanding of global brands and how to support their growth, and a passion for creativity and innovation that matches ours and that of our clients,” Lourd, Lovett, Huvane and Burtson said in a joint statement.
“François-Henri Pinault and his remarkable team, led by Héloïse Temple-Boyer and Alban Greget, share our vision for a future of limitless new opportunities,” they added, while thanking TPG for its “strategic expertise, invaluable support, and friendship” over the 13 years of their partnership.
“We enjoyed tremendous growth and success together and look forward to continuing to collaborate on projects ahead,” they said.
Pinault, who is CEO of Artémis, said CAA would add increased diversity, both in terms of geographical footprint and business activities, to its other assets, which include Kering, home to luxury brands such as Gucci, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga; auction house Christie’s; the Pinault Collection of contemporary art, and Artémis Domaines, encompassing wine estates including Château Latour.
“CAA’s exceptional insight, relationships, and access across key sectors, combined with their widely regarded level of collaboration and innovation, gives the company a formidable role in driving global opportunities for its diverse and culture-defining clients. We look forward to supporting the agency’s very bright path ahead,” Pinault said.
Although it’s tempting to view the Hollywood transfer of power as further evidence of the merging of luxury fashion and entertainment, and surmise that the agency’s clients will be expected to wear and endorse Kering brands, sources told WWD ahead of the announcement that Artémis was not motivated by that. Instead, it’s looking at CAA as a “smart investment.”
“Artémis is a sister company of Kering, but it is not Kering,” a source said, pointing out that keeping space open for all potential fashion and endorsement deals makes better business sense. Still, it’s hard to imagine there will not be some synergies on the celebrity front created by the Kering association.
Kering already has a foothold in Hollywood as a major sponsor of the Cannes Film Festival, with its Women in Motion program showcasing female actors, filmmakers and producers. Kering brand Gucci is the longtime sponsor of the LACMA Art + Film gala in L.A., and Saint Laurent recently launched a film production subsidiary headed by artistic director Anthony Vaccarello, releasing “Strange Way of Life” by Pedro Almodóvar, starring Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal.
Singapore-headquartered global investment firm Temasek will remain a minority investor in CAA. CMC Capital remains a CAA strategic partner. The transaction is expected to be completed later this year, provided the customary closing conditions are met.
CAA was given a $5.5 billion valuation when it acquired global talent and sports agency International Creative Management (ICM) in 2022.
Active across film, television, theater, music, video games, publishing and podcasts, to endorsements, speakers, fashion, the influencer economy, and more, the agency also owns CAA Brand Management, a leading brand development and management firm for the world’s most iconic brands.
CAA Sports, meanwhile, represents thousands of leading athletes, coaches and broadcasters in soccer, basketball, football, baseball and hockey.
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