China's CMC in tie-up with Hollywood talent agency CAA

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[April 18, 2017]   SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese fund CMC Capital Partners (CMC), which has tie-ups from soccer club Manchester City to Warner Bros, has partnered with top Hollywood talent management firm Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the two firms said on Tuesday.

The companies will set up a Chinese media and entertainment joint venture called China CAA, and the Chinese fund headed by media mogul Li Ruigang will also make a "minority strategic investment" in CAA.

The deal is the latest in a series of tie-ups between Hollywood and China, with Chinese investors keen to boost their presence in the United States and Hollywood studios increasingly chasing a bigger share of the fast-growing China market.

U.S. studios such as Warner Bros, Walt Disney Co, Dreamworks, Lionsgate and STX Entertainment have all made tie-ups with Chinese firms to fund productions or help boost their presence in China.

CAA China will be majority-owned by the U.S. partner and will focus on talent representation and endorsement, focusing on sports, digital media, music and content production, the two firms said.

They did not put a value on the investment.

"CAA China will supercharge our efforts, from motion pictures, television, endorsements and brand consulting to sports, live events, digital media and beyond," CAA President Richard Lovett said in the statement.

Entertainment and sports are big potential growth areas in China, tapping into demand from China's rising middle class.

The country's box office has also been quickly catching up with the leading North American market, though growth has slowed. Ticket sales grew 3.2 percent last year to about 45.3 billion yuan ($6.6 billion), according to box office tracker EntGroup, down from nearly 50 percent growth in 2015.

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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