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CMC invests in CAA, launches CAA China division

Through an investment agreement with Manchester City owner CMC Capital Partners, Creative Artists Agency has followed rival WME in creating a dedicated Chinese division

By Jon Chapple on 18 Apr 2017

Richard Lovett, CAA, CAA China

image © Charitybuzz LLC

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) is to increase its investment in the Chinese market via a new alliance with private-equity firm CMC Capital Partners.

The “robust partnership” sees Shanghai-based CMC make a minority investment in CAA, with CMC chairman Li Ruigang also joining the agency’s board of directors. A new division, CAA China, will combine “the expertise and vast resources of CAA with the broad reach and network of CMC in Greater China” (mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) to create an “alliance of industry leaders in the world’s fastest-growing entertainment market”, reads a statement from CAA.

CAA has been active in China since 2005, when it opened an office in Beijing, and has invested more than US$400 million into English-language content, mostly film.

The establishment of CAA China follows the June launch of a Chinese division by rival agency WME-IMG.

“We believe China and the US are the two biggest entertainment markets and play pivotal roles on the global landscape”

CAA’s Chinese film division is overseen by Jonah Greenberg, who will continue in his role, with Roeg Sutherland heading up film finance. CAA China will also “progressively add additional senior management to help expand the business into new entertainment and sports areas”.

CMC’s other investments, meanwhile, include several film studios – including Star China and Flagship, a joint venture with Warner Bros – and football club management outfit City Football Group, which owns Manchester City FC and New York City FC.

“For more than a decade, we have served as a vital bridge to and within the Chinese market, utilising our deep experience and network to support the work of the region’s best artists and to develop opportunities within the market for international talent,” says CAA president Richard Lovett (pictured). “CAA China will supercharge our efforts, from motion pictures, television, endorsements and brand consulting to sports, live events, digital media and beyond.

“CMC, under the leadership of Li Ruigang, has a remarkable record of success in the region, and we are confident that our partnership will yield tremendous results for our clients and future business partners in China.”

“CAA China will supercharge our efforts, from film, TV, endorsements and brand consulting to sports, live events, digital media and beyond”

Li adds: “We believe China and the US are the two biggest entertainment markets and play pivotal roles on the global landscape. The partnership not only creates commercial and industry value, but also serves as an innovative force in the evolution of the Chinese media industry.

“CAA is a prominent institution in the US entertainment and sports sector, which has built its success on systematically and consistently enabling the success of their clients throughout the years. We are immensely excited about the potential possibilities of an enhanced China angle by CMC coupled with the experience and resources of CAA. CMC has been in a highly productive cooperation with CAA under the leadership of Richard Lovett, and we look forward to greater accomplishments in the future.”

Statista estimates the Chinese entertainment market is worth more than $200bn. A 2016 Nielsen study revealed affluent Chinese see more live music than the average American, with 57% regularly attending a concert or festival.


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