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European firms buying into Hollywood with CAA sale

Illustration of a television with the French flag on its screen.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

CAA's pending sale to French billionaire François-Henri Pinault is the latest example of a European-based firm buying into Hollywood.

Why it matters: The volatile nature of Hollywood's business model is showing even more cracks, which could scare away further U.S. investment.

What's happening: Pinault's deal for CAA comes nine months after French media giant Mediawan bought out a majority stake in Brad Pitt's production company Plan B.

  • Also last year: Swedish PE firm EQT became the top outside investor in rival talent agency United Talent Agency (UTA).

Between the lines: The Hollywood agency space has been one of the biggest M&A hotbeds in media even as dealmaking in the sector has cooled overall. June, in particular, saw a lot of moves, including:

  • Agency for the Performing Arts (APA) merged with touring and music-focused Artist Group International to form a new, full-service firm called Independent Artist Group.
  • UTA acquired New York-based executive search firm James & Co., which focuses on the media, tech and sports space.
  • Range Media Partners — a management and production firm formed by many ex-CAA, UTA and WME agents — completed its merger with "La La Land" producer Automatik.
  • WME bought Washington, D.C.-based literary agency Ross Yoon.
  • In May, Gersh sold a 45% stake to private equity firm Crestview Partners.

Details: Pinualt is buying out all of TPG's stake, which hovered between 50% and 60%, Dan Primack reports. The agency will be placed under Artémis, the Pinault family's investment company.

  • Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal values CAA at around $7 billion, a source confirmed to Tim. CAA was valued at $5 billion after the ICM deal.
  • Singapore-headquartered global investment firm Temasek will remain a minority investor in CAA, and CMC Capital remains a CAA strategic partner.
  • The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
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