This reporting is featured in this week’s edition of Confider, the newsletter pulling back the curtain on the media. Subscribe here and send your questions, tips, and complaints here.
It’s become a big guessing game in Hollywood circles—who is getting what and how much following the sale of TPG’s majority stake of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to French luxury goods mogul François-Henri Pinault in a reported $7 billion valuation.
A Financial Times report over the weekend said the talent agency’s top staff are in line to pocket more than $200 million. That could be a major payday for co-chairs Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane, and Richard Lovett, as well as big agents like Maha Dakhil, who just so happens to represent Salma Hayek, who is married to none other than Pinault.
But five current and former CAA staffers, many of whom anxiously await word of how much equity they can cash out, told Confider they are “pissed” over internal chatter that, unlike their higher-ups, they are getting stiffed and will only be able to monetize 10 to 15 percent of their equity—with the rest being rolled into the new entity.
“It’s getting ugly,” one former CAA executive told Confider. “People are extremely mad. This is equity you’ve earned.” While a final decision on the payout has yet to be announced, those with equity are already considering their legal options. “It's so demoralizing and gross,” another equity holder, who took a reduction in their salary in exchange for that equity, told Confider. “We made them all this money, and they are faking that they care on the picket lines, protesting the greed of the studio bosses, and meantime they are taking people’s prime earning years and now we can’t monetize our equity.”
Meetings with top agents at CAA are expected to take place this week with former employees expecting to learn more about the equity plan in the next week or two.
A rep for CAA declined to comment.