CMC Capital Partners Takes Stake in CAA, Forms China Joint Venture

Li Ruigang Founding Chairman China Media Capital, People's Republic of China attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum

Li Ruigang Founding Chairman China Media Capital, People's Republic of China attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum

Creative Artists Agency, the Hollywood talent group that represents stars including Beyonce, George Clooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, is teaming up with Chinese media mogul Li Ruigang to create a new media and entertainment venture in China, the Financial Times reports.

The companies will set up a Chinese media and entertainment joint venture called China CAA, and the Chinese fund headed by media mogul Li Ruigang will also make a "minority strategic investment" in CAA.

"Now that we have a best-in-class, highly trusted local partner, we have a new level of access and resource and capital for our growth", CAA president Richard Lovett tells THR.

As part of Hollywood's growing involvement with Chinese companies, the Century City talent agency will launch CAA China, majority owned by CAA.

CAA already represents some of the top figures in China's film industry, namely directors Zhang Yimou and Feng Xiaogang, actress Fan Bingbing, and actors Donnie Yen Ji-dan and Xu Zheng.

The deal follows a flurry of activity from Chinese firms investing in U.S. studios and talent agencies, as China continues to develop its entertainment industry.

CAA has been active in China since 2005, when it opened an office in Beijing, and has invested more than US$400 million into English-language content, mostly film.

CAA China, majority-owned by the United States partner, will focus on talent representation and endorsement, focusing on sports, digital media, music and content production, the two firms said. These range from talent representation, endorsements, and sports, to digital media, music and original content production. Prior to founding CMC, Li was the Chairman and CEO of Shanghai Media Group (SMG) for more than ten years and successfully transformed SMG from a provincial broadcaster into a leading media conglomerate in China.

They did not put a value on the investment.

Roeg Sutherland, Co-Head of CAA's Global Film Finance and Sales Group, will remain in charge of the agency's Chinese film finance business. CAA China will progressively add additional senior management to help expand the business into new entertainment and sports areas. Its China operations are now headed by Jonah Greenberg.

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