French Billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault Considering $7 Billion Acquisition Of Creative Artists Agency

Francois-Henri Pinault, the French billionaire (and husband of Salma Hayek) whose family business Kering SA counts Gucci among its many holdings, is looking to expand that portfolio by purchasing a majority stake in Creative Artists Agency..

Multiple sources close to the situation say Pinault is "in talks" to purchase the large stake in CAA, which could get a valuation of at least $7 billion, according to those same sources. But the deal is happening at a tumultuous moment for not just CAA but every agency in Hollywood, in the midst of a overlapping strike by both the Writer's Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild, and even though the talks are said to be "advanced" the deal could still dematerialize.

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CAA is one of the primary talent agencies in Hollywood, and would be another marquee holding of Pinault's if his efforts to purchase it prove successful. Other notable companies controlled by Pinault through the holding company Artemis include the auction house Christie's, sportswear brand Puma, French news magazine Le Point, and many others.

The agency was founded in 1975 by "super-agents" Michael Ovitz, Ron Meyer, and others, and in 2010 the private equity firm TPG purchased a 35 percent stake in it, going on to acquire another 18 percent four years later. Back then, the company was valued at some $1.1 billion. One of the many performers represented by the agency happens to be Pinault's wife, Salma Hayek.

The sale would solidify and expand ties between the luxury fashion and entertainment industries already explored by Pinault rival LVMH, itself controlled by billionaire Bernard Arnault, which recently named Pharrell Williams as Louis Vuitton's men's creative director.

Neither Pinault nor representatives for CAA or TPG have commented publicly on the reportedly in-the-works deal.

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