Gucci Owner Artémis Buys CAA in Reported $7 Billion Deal, Bryan Lourd to Be Named CEO

Artémis, the Pinault family’s investment company, is buying Creative Artists Agency with the acquisition of a majority stake in the Hollywood talent agency, which was previously held by the global investment firm TPG.

Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane and Richard Lovett will remain co-chairmen of CAA. Lourd will be named chief executive officer while Jim Burtson will remain president. Singapore-headquartered global investment firm Temasek will remain a minority investor in CAA. CMC Capital remains a CAA strategic partner.

The deal has been previously reported to value CAA at $7 billion, though the companies declined to disclose the number. Artémis CEO Francois-Henri Pinault has been in discussions to buy the stake in the talent agency — which underwent company-wide layoffs in early August — since at least July.

“CAA has all the relevant characteristics to be part of the Artémis family, adding increased diversity, both in terms of geographical footprint and business activities, to our other assets,” said Pinault in a statement.

“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,” said CAA’s Lourd, Lovett, Huvane and Burtson in a joint statement.

With the expected transaction, TPG will exit the investment of 35 percent of the agency that it made in 2010, which it increased to a majority stake in 2014. The secondary investment was reported to be $225 million for the 53% majority stake. At the time, it was a landmark moment for growth for CAA, and led to speculation that the principals might exit.

But the partners have stayed with the agency, and the Artemis announcement noted that Lourd, Huvane and Lovett had all made “long-term commitments” to staying with the company. An individual with knowledge said that the current structure is not expected to change significantly, even with Lourd as CEO.

The new deal comes at the most awkward time for a talent agency, as Hollywood is paralyzed by a dual writers and actors guild strike that has idled the entire industry. The economic toll on CAA, like every other entertainment company, is likely to be significant.

Artémis’ holdings, which amounts to more than $40 billion, include Kering, the luxury group that is home to Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and Brioni. It also has holdings in Christie’s, the world’s leading auction house and Pinault Collection, the world’s largest private collection of contemporary art.

The agency’s merchant bank, Evolution Media Capital (EMC), serves the media and sports sector; Connect Ventures, a joint venture with global venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA), invests in early-stage consumer-focused businesses; the agency’s brand incubator, Caravan, builds consumer companies alongside artists and athletes; and its subsidiary EBG is a leading e-commerce solutions provider of corporate entertainment and travel, with more than 40,000 clients and 100 million users.

“It’s been a privilege to partner with CAA during one of the most exciting periods of innovation and transformation across the media and entertainment industry,” said TPG Executive Chairman and Co-Founder Jim Coulter. “CAA has dramatically expanded its platform over the past 13 years and today operates as the premier gateway for leading talent and content creators globally. This has been a hallmark partnership for our firm, and we wish the team continued success in its next chapter.”

The transaction is expected to be completed later this year, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.  Allen & Company LLC served as financial advisor to CAA. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz served as legal counsel.  Rothschild & Co served as financial advisor to Artémis, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP served as legal counsel.  Ropes & Gray LLP served as legal counsel to TPG.  Sullivan & Cromwell LLP served as legal counsel to Temasek.

The CAA partners’ joint statement continued, “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. We are enormously grateful to TPG for their strategic expertise, invaluable support, and friendship over 13 years. We enjoyed tremendous growth and success together and look forward to continuing to collaborate on projects ahead.”

CAA does not disclose its revenues, but annual gross receipts are believed to be in the range of $400-$500 million per year.

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