CAA launches Chinese joint venture with CMC Capital

Hollywood talent firm Creative Artists Agency is expanding its presence in China through a deal with CMC Capital Partners, a China-based investment fund.

The two companies will launch a joint venture called CAA China to capitalize on the growing Chinese entertainment market and increasing clout of homegrown talent in that country, the companies said Monday.

The move is the latest bridge between Hollywood and the world’s most populous nation, which remains a highly attractive market for American movies despite a sharp slowdown in that country’s box office revenue.

CMC, which invests in media, entertainment and Internet businesses, will take an undisclosed minority stake in CAA. CMC’s Chairman Li Ruigang, who founded the company in 2010, will join CAA’s board. Financial details were not disclosed.

For CAA, the deal marks an expansion of its business in China. The agency already has a significant presence in the country, where it first opened an office in 2005 and has been heavily involved in Chinese-American co-productions. CAA employs more than two dozen people in its China office, and has packaged, sold or raised financing for about 75 Chinese-language movies. It also represents local heavyweights including “The Great Wall” director Zhang Yimou and “Rogue One” star Donnie Yen.

Details about the companies’ plans for CAA China were sparse, but CAA President Richard Lovett said in a statement that the venture would “supercharge” efforts to do business in the region, including in digital media and live events.

Chinese companies have been eager to put money into Hollywood businesses as China builds its own entertainment and cultural industries. But deal making has been less frothy lately due to the Chinese government’s crackdown on overpriced acquisitions and the flow of capital out of the country. China also suffered a striking slowdown in box office growth last year.

CMC has a wide-ranging portfolio in film, television, sports and other industries, with investments including joint venture Imax China, production company Star China and Flagship, a joint venture studio with Warner Bros.

ryan.faughnder@latimes.com

@rfaughnder

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