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French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault to acquire majority stake in Creative Artists Agency (CAA), home to Brad Pitt and Chris Paul, in a near $7 billion deal.
The Pinault family, largest shareholder in Kering SA and owners of Gucci, Christie's, and wineries, view CAA as an opportunity to invest in celebrity value. Pinault's wife, actress Salma Hayek, is represented by CAA, offering potential cross-promotion between their various businesses. Famous faces can further strengthen their ventures.
Pinault, from a luxury goods family empire, aims to acquire the majority stake held by private equity firm TPG Inc., say anonymous sources. Temasek Holdings Pte, Singapore's government investment company, might also increase its stake in CAA by purchasing China's CMC Capital. Negotiations are expected to conclude within weeks, though the deal's uncertain.
CAA's valuation has risen from $5.5 billion to $7 billion after acquiring ICM Partners. Francois Pinault, 61, aims to acquire a stable and influential Hollywood institution during a difficult time for media deals. The decline of pay TV, higher interest rates, and strikes by writers and actors have caused valuations of most media companies to decrease.
Established in 1975, CAA has become Hollywood's largest agency, representing actors, directors, writers, producers, athletes, and musicians. Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane, and Richard Lovett have led the agency since the mid-1990s and are expected to continue their roles.
Rumors about CAA's future persist due to private equity firms' short-term ownership. TPG invested in CAA in 2010 and gained a majority stake in 2014. Unlike Endeavor, CAA has prioritized core talent representation, corporate consulting, and built a large sports agency.
In deal, company may give agents chance to sell small portion of shares. Select few asked to sign new contracts, keeping them at firm for next few years, sources say.