CAA’s leadership got a big pay day for their role in orchestrating private equity investment in the talent agency for stars such as Jennifer Lawrence, J.J. Abrams, and Robert Downey Jr., according to a new book by James Andrew Miller.
Titled, “Powerhouse: The Inside Story of CAA,” the book is the buzz of Hollywood, promising to reveal juicy details about the formation of the agency and its tumultuous years under the leadership of super-agent Michael Ovitz. But it’s the financial windfall enjoyed by CAA brass that may be the biggest shock and could represent Miller’s greatest reporting feat.
According to an excerpt obtained by Variety, CAA’s top brass, a group that consisted of Richard Lovett, Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane, and David “Doc” O’Connor, earned more than $250 million for their role in the deal. TPG’s investment in the agency happened over a period of four years. In 2010, the investment firm bought a 35% stake. It deepened its investment four years later to more than 50% of the company.
For the first TPG transaction, O’Connor earned roughly $25 million, Lourd and Huvane received approximately $30 million, and Lovett got $30 million-plus. In 2010, the men did share proceeds from the deal with every CAA employee, sources tell Variety.
On the second transaction, the partners received “an exit benefit and net present value of salary reductions” that equaled roughly two years of compensation, according to Miller’s book. As part of that payout, each man earned about $20 million. Miller goes on to write that there was a “judo chop at the end.” The rest of the proceeds for the sale were dispensed under the discretion of a “comp committee” that reportedly consisted solely of Lovett and Lourd. They granted themselves and Huvane another $20 million each. O’Connor didn’t receive any of these funds. Miller cites unnamed sources with knowledge of the transactions.
A spokeswoman for CAA declined to comment.
Huvane, Lovett, and Lourd are still at CAA. O’Connor is president and CEO of MSG, the entertainment company behind Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden. “Powerhouse” hits store shelves on Tuesday. Miller previously co-authored “Live From New York” and “Those Guys Have All the Fun,” which looked at the history of “Saturday Night Live” and ESPN, respectively.