It was February 13, in the City of Angels. Tom Cruise made a surprise appearance at the traditional Oscar nominees’ luncheon, which was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, around its huge swimming pool. The actor, in a blue suit, white shirt and purple tie, nominated as producer for the film Top Gun: Maverick, posed in front of the photographers, all smiles, with Jamie Lee Curtis, Steven Spielberg, Michelle Yeoh and Jerry Bruckheimer.

Right after the feast, he drove into Century City, an area of ​​Los Angeles known as the home of Fox Studios, where many famous films and television shows were created, and stopped in front of an imposing glass building located at 2000 Avenue of the Stars. He had made the trip on purpose to greet his longtime agent, Kevin Huvane (who is also that of Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep), one of the three directors of the most powerful talent agency in the world, Creative Artists Agency (CAA ). The agency’s employees, in no way jaded by the incredible depth of their celebrity file, spontaneously left their offices to gather in the lobby and gave Tom Cruise a standing ovation for several minutes…

On Thursday September 7, Artémis, the holding company of the Pinault family whose assets reach more than 40 billion euros [Editor’s note: holding company which controls Kering and also owns Point], announced that it was going to become the majority shareholder from this powerful American talent agency. Artémis is buying 53% of the shares of the American private equity fund TPG (present in the capital since 2010), the amount of the transaction has not been made public, but a total valuation of $7 billion for CAA is mentioned.

The agency, founded in 1975, is run by a trio of agents, now in their sixties: Bryan Lourd (who represents Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson), Richard Lovett (Tom Hanks, Will Smith) and Kevin Huvane , already mentioned. The story is worthy of a Hollywood script, as these three started at the bottom and are now some of the most influential people in Hollywood, which is no longer just synonymous with “Movie Mecca.” but rather the realm of entertainment, in its broadest sense. CAA’s business is therefore based on a wide diversity of sectors: sport, television, cinema, then music are the main segments of activity.

CAA, which has 3,400 employees worldwide, including 2,500 in the United States, based between headquarters in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville, the capital of country music, has built its success on a particular organization. A “talent” works with a team of agents who serve customers collectively. This makes it possible to offer an actor, for example, the opportunity to participate in a series, a TV show or to produce an advertisement… This also contributes to the fact that the agency does not rely on a single, irreplaceable star advisor, whose departure would jeopardize the future of the company. The three current managers of the highly profitable agency have committed to remaining with the company for several more years.

The sector has entered a phase of concentration in recent years. Last year, CAA acquired its rival ICM in a deal valued at $750 million, allowing it to strengthen its positions in Europe. Faced with the ever-increasing power of platforms (Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Disney), agencies need to gain weight to negotiate with such behemoths… Musicians, screenwriters, actors, athletes are abandoning small structures. CAA’s big competitor today is Endeavor Talent Agency, an agency led by Ari Emanuel, former CAA agent.

Last originality, the agency authorizes itself to phosphatize on ideas for scenarios which it can then have written by its “in-house screenwriters”, then have produced and directed by its “in-house producers and directors”, then filmed with its “actors and house actresses”…

The new majority shareholder is convinced of the enormous growth potential. The proliferation of media (TikTok, video games) which allow stars to become infinitely adaptable brands attests to this. Artémis should complete the transaction in the coming weeks. It also intends to develop CAA internationally, particularly in Europe and Asia.