CAA has partnered with CMC Capital Partners to form media and entertainment platform CAA China, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
As part of the pact, CMC - a major Chinese investment firm with stakes in Oriental DreamWorks and Warner Bros.' Chinese studio Flagship Entertainment, among other Hollywood companies - has made a minority investment in CAA, and CMC chairman Li Ruigang will join the agency's board of directors.
CAA opened its Beijing office in 2005 and has been a part of nearly every major co-production during that tenure. The agency has packaged, sold or raised financing for more than 75 local-language films and directed more than $400 million in Chinese capital into English-language content. In addition, its Greater Chinese clients include heavyweights such as Zhang Yimou and Donnie Yen.
"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. "Because we are with CMC, we have the ability to partner with any and all companies in China as they connect to internet opportunities and distribution opportunities. This is a moment where we're able to supercharge efforts on behalf of current clients and build new businesses."
CAA China will add additional senior management to the two-dozen-plus employees based in Beijing, led by Jonah Greenberg on the motion picture side. (CAA Global Film Finance and Sales Group co-head Roeg Sutherland will continue to lead the film finance practice in the Chinese market.)
"Working with agents is a new area for us to explore," Li tells THR. "CAA has great resources, not only in the talent management business but also in other areas, such as sports, event management, marketing, advertising, consulting and packaging, so there is an opportunity for us to download this expertise from Hollywood to China to localize and industrialize the local market. Going forward, collaboration between China and Hollywood should not be only on the co-production case-by-case project basis, it should be a more strategic long-term and visionary partnership, and CAA can bring a lot of expertise to China."