A little over a year after closing its rumored $750 million acquisition of ICM Partners, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) is reportedly itself in “advanced” talks to sell a majority stake to French billionaire François-Henri Pinault.
The news of the alleged sale of CAA only recently came under the media spotlight in a Bloomberg report, although it was predictable that at the time of writing, neither the agency nor the President of Groupe Artémis and Kering CEO Pinault have made any public statements about the had raised the matter.
Although the media last year gave the combined ICM-CAA company an estimated enterprise value of $5 billion, in the context of the current discussions, Bloomberg has valued CAA at a valuation of “at least $7 billion.” It goes without saying that time will tell if the deal actually goes through (and what the price will be).
But the same outlet, citing an anonymous source, made it clear that the discussions “could still end without an agreement.”
Meanwhile, a Kering spokesman clarified that the luxury goods company (and Gucci’s parent company) were not involved in the reported talks. Regardless, the sales rumors naturally arose amid well-documented writer and actor strikes in Hollywood. (Pinault is married to actress Salma Hayek, who is reportedly on the CAA roster.)
Beyond the screen, however, Primary Wave shareholder CAA represents a number of high-profile artists – including Beyoncé, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, John Mayer and even virtual artists. Fort Worth-based TPG (which backed songwriting platform Musixmatch a year ago) owns 53 percent of CAA, having last invested in the company in 2014 for $1.1 billion, according to Reuters.
More broadly, the sale of CAA would be the latest in a series of upheavals in the talent space. Discharged Paradigm agents went on to set up their own company, such as TBA, and the relatively new company is now a client CHVRCHES, English teacher, weak little horseAnd the bethsto name a few.
(Paradigm subsequently divested its live music touring division entirely; the entity was purchased and then renamed Wasserman Music in April 2021. In April 2022, Wasserman acquired Paradigm UK’s music agency business.)
In addition, UTA — owned in substantial part by private equity firm EQT — has completed several acquisitions of its own, including deals for Echo Location and MediaLink. BMG has quietly expanded its presence on the management side, and most recently WME acquired Red 11 Music in April.