French billionaire Francois Pinault’s Artemis holding company — which owns iconic brands like Gucci and Christie’s auction house — has taken a majority stake in Creative Artists Agency, adding the talent and sports agency of many big Hollywood stars to an asset portfolio valued at $40 billion.
Pinault’s Artemis is now the primary holder of CAA, which counts actors like Vin Diesel, Jennifer Aniston and Pinault’s wife Salma Hayek among its clients, in a deal that valuesthe agency at $7 billion, Variety reported Thursday.
CAA President Jim Burston will maintain his title, Variety reported, and CAA will be managed separately from Kering, the luxury goods company Pinault also owns.
The acquisition will push Artemis further into the entertainment industry and offer “increased diversity,” Pinault said in a statement, giving his company “a formidable role in driving global opportunities.”
“There’s no separation between fashion and entertainment any more,” Robert Burke, who owns a retail consulting firm, told the New York Times of the deal. “This offers enormous access to talent.”
Francois Pinault was ranked No. 37 on Forbes real-time billionaires list Thursday with a net worth of $34.4 billion. Pinault founded timber-trading company Pinault S.A. in 1962, which became the retail conglomerate Pinault-Printemps-Redoute in 1994 and Kering in 2013. Kering is the parent company of Gucci, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and Puma, among other fashion brands. Kering’s parent company is Groupe Artemis, a holding company founded by Pinault in Paris in 1992. Artemis controls names like Christie’s, the iconic auction house, Château Latour winery and the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.
Founded almost 50 years ago, CAA was started by five agents and has now expanded to have divisions in film, TV, video games, publishing, music and other industries. CAA expanded into sports in 2006 and its athlete clients now include Devin Booker, Josh Allen and Joe Burrow. The company was in the headlines in 2015 when actors Will Ferrell and Chris Pratt left the agency in favor of rival United Talent Agency, taking 10 agents with them and launching a legal battle between the two competitors that included accusations of a “lawless, midnight raid.” The two settled the lawsuit in 2019—details were not released. Last year, CAA announced it would merge with ICM partners, another talent and literary agency, in the biggest industry consolidation since WME and IMG merged in 2014. The $750 million deal was scrutinized by the Department of Justice but ultimately closed in the summer of 2022.
What To Watch For
How the ownership of CAA impacts Kering’s companies. Major fashion brands owned by Kering include Gucci, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, which work with brand ambassadors both represented by CAA and its competitors. Kaia Gerber, the face of Alexander McQueen’s Slash bag campaign, is a CAA client, for instance, but Gucci ambassador Alia Bhatt is represented by competing William Morris Endeavor Entertainment.
The Real-Time Billionaires List (Forbes)