Resolution talent agency lands Chinese investor

Resolution talent agency lands Chinese investor
Jeff Berg heads talent and literary agency Resolution. (Los Angeles Times)

In what is being billed as the first investment by a Chinese firm in a Hollywood talent agency, Beijing-based Bison Capital Holdings has acquired a stake in Century City-based Resolution, the company announced Tuesday.

Resolution, a talent and literary agency, is headed by Jeff Berg, the former chairman and chief executive of International Creative Management, who left that company in October 2012 after a bruising power struggle.

Privately held investment firm Bison is headed by Peixin Xu, who also is an independent director of Bona Film Group Ltd., a China-based film distributor. Among Bison's media investments is a stake in AirMedia Group Inc., a Chinese advertising company.

"In addition to the financial opportunity, we now have access to relationships and information that will be critical in enhancing our platform in China," Xu said in a statement.

Terms of Resolution's arrangement with Bison were not disclosed. The talent agency, which has 30 agents, already does business in China, representing Chinese actors.

Resolution agent David Unger, who represents Michelle Yeoh, star of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” the most successful Chinese-American co-production of all time, will coordinate Resolution's business in China. 

Berg said in a statement that Unger "played a central role in initiating these negotiations." 

As part of the deal, Jack Gao, chief executive of News Corp. China Investments, is joining Resolution's board. In 2012, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. acquired a 19.9% stake in Bona.

"This partnership will allow us to fund strategic expansion in the global marketplace," Berg said.

Berg opened Resolution three months after departing ICM. The initial backer was Jahm Najafi, head of Phoenix-based Najafi Cos. The size of Najafi's investment is unclear, though a person with knowledge of the matter told The Times last year that Resolution was capitalized at $200 million.