Many of us have wondered for years what TPG will ultimately do with CAA. The private equity group first invested in the talent agency in 2010 and bought a majority stake in 2014, and PE firms often don’t stay in assets longer than five to seven years. For that reason, rumors of a sale or divestiture have persisted, especially as the agency’s main rival, Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor, took on huge debt to grow large enough to finally go public this spring.
But TPG is staying the course with CAA, I’m told, closing a deal to move the agency and its roster of everyone from Meryl Streep to Ryan Murphy from an expiring fund to a new one. Like I said, it’s kinda sorta changing hands; this isn’t the big cash-out for Richard Lovett, Bryan Lourd and Kevin Huvane that some rivals have predicted. There’s a time horizon on these PE funds, allowing investors to come in and out (Goldman Sachs is in this go-round, for which about $1 billion extra was raised). So while the move doesn’t preclude further dealmaking, it suggests TPG likes the CAA business and wants to stay involved. And, despite a report by Buyouts, I’m told TPG isn’t increasing its stake in CAA, which also counts as equity investors Li Ruigang’s China Media Capital and the Singapore government’s Tamasek Holdings. Reps for TPG and CAA declined to comment as the deal isn’t quite done. (Disclosure: TPG is an investor in Puck)