François-Henri Pinault’s CAA Deal Not Fashion-motivated, Sources Say

A deal is expected to close soon for French billionaire François-Henri Pinault to purchase a majority stake in Creative Artists Agency, sources told WWD, confirming a story first reported by Bloomberg.

Pinault, whose family controls the Kering luxury empire, will be acquiring the majority stake held by private equity firm TPG Inc. The acquisition is being made through Artemis, the Pinault family’s investment company founded in 1992.

Artemis declined comment when reached about the deal.

Although it’s tempting to view the Hollywood transfer of power, which has been rumored for years, as further evidence of the merging of luxury fashion and entertainment, and surmise that the agency’s clients — which include Zendaya, Brad Pitt, Ryan Murphy and Tom Hanks — will be expected to wear and endorse Kering brands, sources say that Artemis was not motivated by that. Instead, it’s looking at CAA as a “smart investment.”

“Artemis is a sister company of Kering, but it is not Kering,” a source said of the luxury group that controls Gucci, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta and Yves Saint Laurent, among others, pointing out that keeping space open for all potential fashion and endorsement deals makes better business sense.

Still, it’s hard to imagine there will not be some synergies on the celebrity front created by the Kering association.

Kering already has a foothold in Hollywood as a major sponsor of the Cannes Film Festival, with its Women in Motion program showcasing female actors, filmmakers and producers. Kering brand Gucci is the longtime sponsor of the LACMA Art + Film gala in L.A., and Saint Laurent recently launched a film production subsidiary headed by artistic director Anthony Vaccarello, releasing “Strange Way of Life” by Pedro Almodóvar, starring Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal.

Perhaps Murphy and other CAA talent would be considered first for Kering brand film and advertising projects?

Operationally, as Bloomberg reported, things are not expected to change at Hollywood’s biggest talent agency, which was founded in 1975. Since the 1990s, Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane and Richard Lovett have run CAA, which has its own fashion division representing designers, models and talent.

CAA was given a $5.5 billion valuation when it acquired ICM in 2022. TPG acquired its majority stake in 2014.

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