Agent ankles, loads Arsenal

CAA's Ptak hangs up shingle

Longtime CAA agent John Ptak is ankling the tenpercentery to form Arsenal with partner Philip Elway.

As more outside money finances Hollywood productions, new firm will advise producers, distrib companies and private equity funds.

In his more than three decades as an agent, including over 15 years at CAA, Ptak was a pioneer in positioning agencies in the business of raising funds for projects, not simply packaging talent.

At CAA, he has handled financing and distrib deals on more than 100 indie films, including pics by Woody Allen, Jane Campion, Paul Haggis and Terry Gilliam.

Elway was recently head of German tax fund VIP Medienfonds’ American financing unit. He’s also been an exec VP at Douglas-Reuther Prods. and chief operating officer of Bel Air Entertainment.

The duo’s move reflects the importance of private equity in the current Hollywood financial ecosystem. In recent years, every major studio has inked nine-figure co-financing pacts with private equity funds.

Driven largely by the hedge fund boom, studios and producers have seen more private equity firms seek investment opportunities in entertainment properties.

Arsenal’s initial client list will include Exception-Wild Bunch, Endgame Entertainment, Spitfire Pictures, Kadokawa Pictures USA and Davis Films. Shingle plans to be up and running just after this year’s edition of the Cannes fest closes.

In a statement, Ptak said of his CAA colleagues, “The agency thoroughly encouraged the growth of this new, independent business from the beginning. Philip and I look forward to working closely with CAA on shared client companies and films.”

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