A little over one year after closing its reportedly $750 million acquisition of ICM Partners, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) itself is reportedly in “advanced” talks to sell a majority stake to French billionaire François-Henri Pinault.
Word of CAA’s rumored sale just recently entered the media spotlight in a Bloomberg report, though predictably, neither the agency nor the Groupe Artémis president and Kering head Pinault appeared to have commented publicly on the matter at the time of this writing.
Despite the fact that media last year assigned an estimated $5 billion enterprise value to the combined ICM-CAA entity, Bloomberg has attached a valuation of “at least $7 billion” to CAA in connection with the present talks. Needless to say, time will tell whether the deal actually closes (and which price tag it brings with it).
But the same outlet, citing an anonymous source, went ahead and drove home that the discussions “could still end without an agreement.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Kering made clear that the reported talks hadn’t involved the luxury-goods company (and Gucci parent). Separately, the sale rumors have of course arrived amid well-documented writer and actor strikes in Hollywood. (Pinault’s married to actress Salma Hayek, who’s reportedly part of the CAA roster.)
Beyond the silver screen, however, the Primary Wave stakeholder CAA represents a number of high-profile artists – among them Beyoncé, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, John Mayer, and even virtual acts. Fort Worth-based TPG (which backed lyrics platform Musixmatch one year ago) owns 53 percent of CAA, having last invested in the company, at a $1.1 billion valuation, in 2014, per Reuters.
More broadly, CAA’s sale would mark the latest in a series of shakeups in the talent sphere. Laid-off Paradigm agents went ahead and established their own operation, TBA, for instance, and the relatively new firm now counts as clients CHVRCHES, English Teacher, feeble little horse, and The Beths, to name a few.
(Paradigm subsequently cashed out of its live music touring division altogether; the unit was purchased and then rebranded as Wasserman Music in April of 2021. April of 2022 brought Wasserman’s buyout of Paradigm UK’s music-representation business.)
Additionally, UTA – a substantial portion of which belongs to private equity firm EQT – has finalized multiple acquisitions of its own, including deals for Echo Location and MediaLink. BMG has been quietly broadening its presence on the management side, and most recently, WME in April scooped up Red 11 Music.