CAA, CMC Capital launch CAA China

CMC Capital Partners takes ‘minority strategic investment’ in agency.

CAA and Chinese media investment fund CMC Capital Partners (CMC) on Monday announced they have formed a partnership that includes the launch of CAA China.

CMC has made a “minority strategic investment” in CAA and CMC chairman Li Ruigang will join the CAA board.

The move will enable CAA to strengthen its ties to the region after it established an office in Beijing in 2005, which currently houses more than 24 employees.

Jonah Greenberg will continue to lead the agency’s China activities in film, while Roeg Sutherland, co-head of CAA’s Global Film Finance and Sales Group, will continue to lead the film finance business in the market.

CAA China will add additional senior management. The partnership will enable CAA to parlay its expanding operations in China and CMC’s network and experience in entertainment and sports into opportunities in talent representation, endorsements, sports, digital media, music, and original content production.

The Beijing office has placed CAA close to major Chinese co-productions, and allowed the agency to build a talent stable in the region that encompasses Zhang Yimou, Lin Chi-ling, and Donnie Yen, among others.

The global film finance and sales group has packaged, sold, or raised financing for more than 75 Chinese-language films, directing more than $400m in Chinese capital into English-language content.

“For more than a decade, we have served as a vital bridge to and within the Chinese market, utilizing our deep experience and network to support the work of the region’s best artists and to develop opportunities within the market for international talent,” CAA president Richard Lovett said.

“CAA China will supercharge our efforts, from motion pictures, television, endorsements, and brand consulting to sports, live events, digital media, and beyond.

“CMC, under the leadership of Li Ruigang, has a remarkable record of success in the region, and we are confident that our partnership will yield tremendous results for our clients and future business partners in China.”

“We believe China and the US are the two biggest entertainment markets and play pivotal roles on the global landscape,” Ruigang said. “The partnership not only creates commercial and industry value, but also serves as an innovative force in the evolution of the Chinese media industry.

“CAA is a prominent institution in the US entertainment and sports sector, which has built its success on systematically and consistently enabling the success of their clients throughout the years.

“We are immensely excited about the potential possibilities of an enhanced China angle by CMC coupled with the experience and resources of CAA. CMC has been in a highly productive cooperation with CAA under the leadership of Richard Lovett, and we look forward to greater accomplishments in the future.”

CMC’s investments include IMAX China; variety production company Star China; Flagship, the joint venture with Warner Bros; and City Football Group, the football club management company that owns the Manchester City and New York City clubs.

“CAA China demonstrates the vision and innovation that has driven CAA’s growth and fueled its ability to stay on the leading edge of industry trends,” Jim Coulter, co-founder of private equity firm TPG, which is CAA’s majority shareholder, said.

“CAA has had a significant impact on the Chinese entertainment marketplace by enabling its clients’ success over the past 12 years. We are thrilled with the company’s progress and the value-creation CAA has realized for its shareholders since our investment. With CMC as a meaningfully invested partner, and continuing growth in the Chinese market, the potential for CAA China is limitless.”

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