CAA Target Of Acquisition Talks With French Billionaire Pinault: Reports

French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault (left image), walks to lunch at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 12 in Idaho, while the next day CAA co-chairman Bryan Lourd (L) and IAC chairman Barry Diller talk shop at the annual event, where some of the world’s biggest titans of media, finance and tech gather for a weeklong conference.. (Photos by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

CAA co-chairman Bryan Lourd and French billionaire François-Henri Pinault are reported to be in acquisition talks that would add a majority stake in the agency and some Hollywood glamour to Pinault’s already-substantial holdings in luxury and fashion brands including Gucci and Balenciaga through the parent company Kering via his Artemis investment vehicle.

Bloomberg first reported the talks taking place at Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s annual tech, media and finance summit in Sun Valley, Idaho. That talks were happening between Lourd and Pinault, and that Pinault is interested in buying, gained credence with multiple confirmations independently reported by publications including Bloomberg and Variety, which describes the talks as being in “advanced” stages.

A spokesperson for CAA declined to comment on the report.

CAA is backed by asset management firm TPG, which holds an approximate 53% stake in the agency, whose valuation is estimated at more than $7 billion, according to Bloomberg.

The agency’s music department clients include such superstars as Beyoncé, Harry Styles, Lady Gaga, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Doja Cat, Tame Impala and many more top global artists. CAA boasted the largest agency market share on Pollstar‘s mid-year charts and also represents actors, authors, and brands – many of which would fit quite neatly in Pinault’s portfolio. Its CAA Icons group is among the leading firms in project management for arena and stadium developments, and its sales division consults on naming rights deals as well.

Pinault has been chairman and CEO of luxury and fashion holding company Kering SA since 2005, and president of investment arm Groupe Artémis since 2003. Among Kering’s brand holdings are Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Vaneta and Balenciaga. Among CAA Speakers’ clients is actor, director and producer Salma Hayek, who is married to Pinault since 2009.

While any deal between Lourd and Pinault is not yet finalized, the talks come at a precarious time for at least some clients of both parties thanks to the double strike by the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Writers Guild of America that has Hollywood at a standstill, with no clear end in sight.

CAA is one of the remaining “Big Four” talent agencies – whittled down to three with its recent acquisition of ICM Partners. Founded in 1975 by five agents including Michael Ovitz and Ron Meyer, CAA also reps Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent in common with Pinault’s holdings.

CAA artists also accounted for 52 of Pollstar’s Top 200 Worldwide Tours in 2022, led by Harry Styles, Lady Gaga, The Weeknd, Eagles, Dua Lipa, Iron Maiden, My Chemical Romance, Justin Bieber, John Mayer, and Queen + Adam Lambert.