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French tycoon linked with $7 billion CAA deal

Billionaire French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault is reportedly in advanced talks to acquire a majority stake in Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

According to Bloomberg, the proposed deal would value the leading entertainment and sports agency, which is backed by private equity firm TPG, at US$7 billion (€6.2bn), although one source indicated the talks “could still end without an agreement”.

Pinault is chairman and CEO of Paris-headquartered luxury goods company Kering, owner of brands such as Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Alexander McQueen and Yves Saint Laurent.

Pinault, TPG and CAA have declined to comment on the report, while a representative for Kering denied the group was involved.

CAA’s music clients include the likes of Harry Styles, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Kylie Minogue, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Muse

Founded in 1975, CAA is headquartered in Los Angeles, and has offices in New York, Nashville, Memphis, Chicago, Miami, London, Munich, Geneva, Stockholm, Shanghai and Beijing, among other locations. TPG upped its 35% stake in the firm to 53% for a reported $225 million in 2014.

CAA consolidated its position at the forefront of the international live music agency lanscape last year with its acquisition of ICM Partners (ICM), in a move valued at $750 million by Hollywood Reporter. The agreement was said to be the largest talent agency transaction since WME acquired IMG in 2014.

The company’s music clients include the likes of Harry Styles, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Florence + The Machine, Dermot Kennedy, Sam Smith, Kylie Minogue, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lorde, Green Day, Muse, Sam Fender, Haim, The Black Keys and Paramore.

CAA is not the only music industry giant to be the subject of sale rumours this week. Reuters reports that live behemoth Superstruct Entertainment is being readied for a sale by its owner – private equity firm Providence – with a potential £1bn price tag, while hospitality giant Legends is in discussions to acquire ASM Global according to VenuesNow.


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