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TPG Capital Buys Majority Stake in CAA

TPG Capital has become a majority stakeholder in Creative Artists Agency, the first time in its history that the talent agency will be owned by an outside investor.

The private equity firm already held a 35% stake in CAA and has been discussing the possibility of deepening its investment in recent weeks. Precise details of the sale and TPG’s new position were not announced.

As part of the deal, CAA’s management team will remain in place and has extended its long-term contracts, the agency said.

“There’s nothing like CAA,” said TPG co-founder Jim Coulter in a statement. “CAA is an unrivaled industry leader, with an exceptionally talented and uncommonly stable management team. They have built their global and diversified platform through relentless innovation and a collaborative culture of client service. The company has had extraordinary growth across its divisions, alongside intelligent asset-building and principal investment strategies, and we are enthusiastic about the continued success ahead.”

An initial report by the New York Post on TPG’s investment speculated that it might position the agency for an initial public offering, but a release announcing the deal made no mention of plans to go public.

It’s not the first time private equity has invested in the agency world. WME and private equity firm Silver Lake teamed to buy IMG for $2.3 billion in 2013, and ICM was partly owned by Rizvi Traverse until its top agents banded together in 2012 to buy the company back and turn it into a partnership.

CAA’s client list includes A-list actors such as Jennifer Lawrence, Daniel Craig and George Clooney, as well as sports stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Carmelo Anthony.

But it has moved beyond talent representation. Sports has been a growing emphasis for the company’s diversification efforts, which have included advising property sales deals for clients including Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium. The agency has also moved into branding, working with such companies as Coca-Cola, General Motors, Chipotle and Farmers Insurance, and has invested in digital start-ups such as Funny or Die.

UBS and LionTree Advisers served as financial adviser to CAA. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz served as legal counsel to CAA. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton served as legal counsel to TPG.

More to come…

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