Hollywood talent agency CAA is in advanced talks to sell a majority stake to Francois-Henri Pinault, the French billionaire behind luxury and fashion empire Kering, according to a report in Bloomberg.
The deal would value CAA, which was founded in 1975 and is backed by TPG, at $7 billion, as per Bloomberg’s report, based on anonymous sources.
Reached by Variety, a spokesperson for Pinault and his investment vehicle Artemis declined to comment. A rep for Kering, meanwhile, denied any involvement of the group. CAA declined to comment.
Rumors of a pending sale between CAA and Pinault have emerged at a critical time for Hollywood and for talent. SAG-AFTRA confirmed on Thursday that it would go on strike against the film and TV companies that comprise the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), joining the WGA which has been on the picket lines since May 2. It marks only the second time in Hollywood history that actors have joined writers on the picket lines.
Under the guidelines of the SAG-AFTRA strike, union actors aren’t able to attend premieres, do interviews for completed work, go to awards shows, attend film festivals or even promote projects on social media until a deal is reached.
An Artemis acquisition of CAA would bring Kering closer to the entertainment world. The luxury group has already made headway in the film landscape in recent years, becoming a major sponsor of the Cannes Film Festival and organizing a Women in Motion program that showcases inspiring female actors, filmmakers and producers. This year’s Kering award, handed out in partnership with Cannes, was given to Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh during a star-studded gala dinner attended by Leonardo DiCaprio and Paul Dano, among others. Pinault has also been immersed in the film biz for many years through his wife, Salma Hayek Pinault, an actor, filmmaker and activist.
One of Kering’s key brands, Saint Laurent, also launched its film production vehicle, headed by its artistic director Anthony Vaccarello, during the Cannes Film Festival. The banner’s first credits include “Strange Way of Life” by Pedro Almodóvar, starring Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal.