French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault is close to buying a majority stake in the company for $7 billion Creative Artist AgencyThe Hollywood talent giant is home to actor Brad Pitt and basketball star Chris Paul, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Pinault family controls a luxury empire and is seeking a majority stake from private equity firms TPGsaid the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced. Temasek Holdings Pte LtdSingapore state investment firm CMC may also increase its stake in CAA by acquiring a stake in China’s Chinese Cultural Capital (CMC Capital), the people said. While the deal may fall apart, the two sides are expected to finalize negotiations in the coming weeks.

CAA is valued at $7 billion, up from the $5.5 billion it valued the business last year when it bought rival ICM Partners. Pinault, 61, is looking for one of Hollywood’s most stable and powerful agencies during a challenging time in media deals. Valuations for most media companies have slipped due to the collapse of pay-TV, rising interest rates and strikes by writers and actors.

However, the Pinault family sees CAA as a way to invest in the value of celebrities and perhaps be able to leverage some of those celebrity faces to bolster its other businesses.The family is the company’s largest shareholder Kering Group, the owner of luxury brands such as Gucci. The Pinault family also controls Christie’s auction house and winery through a holding company. Pinault’s wife, actress Salma Hayek, is represented by CAA.

Founded in 1975 by partners including Michael Ovitz and Ron Meyer, CAA has grown to become Hollywood’s largest agency. It is the top representation of actors, directors, writers, producers, athletes and musicians. Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane and Richard Lovett have run the agency since the mid-1990s, when they were known as The Young Turks. All three are expected to remain with the company.

Over the past decade, every major Hollywood agency has raised capital to expand into new business. Endeavor Group Holdings are the most aggressive, having purchased Ultimate Fighting Championships, Professional Bull Riders, and more recently, world wrestling entertainment Its talent agency, WME, currently accounts for about a third of sales and profits.Third-largest firm United Talent Agency sells stake to Swedish private equity firm EQT last year.

Rumors about CAA’s future have swirled for years, as private equity firms typically don’t hold companies for many years. TPG first invested in CAA in 2010 and acquired a majority stake in 2014. CAA isn’t expanding as aggressively as Endeavor. It focuses on core talent agency as well as corporate consulting. It established one of the largest sports institutions in the world.

As part of the deal, the company may give equity-owning proxies the opportunity to sell a small portion of their shares and will require selected proxies to sign new contracts so they can continue to invest over the next few years, the people said. Stay with the company. Year.

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