A Behind-the-Scenes Mover and Shaker
Brian Weinstein, head of the corporate finance group, Creative Artists Agency
By Paige Albiniak -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/25/2012 12:01:00 AM
But people forget sometimes how much real action—and money—is made behind the scenes.
Which brings us to the Creative Artists Agency, where Brian Weinstein is head of the corporate finance group, and a mighty busy man.
“CAA’s TV business is like any other agency. We package a show, bringing together a writer, showrunner, creator, talent, and sometimes we even bring funding,” says Weinstein. “That’s how we look at all new business opportunities. Over the last four or five years, we’ve started to talk to companies in a different way. We decided to transition from a pure agency to a much different company.”
In his seven years at CAA, Weinstein has orchestrated several lucrative partnerships, including bringing the Anschutz Entertainment Group—one of the world’s largest owners of sports teams and producers of live events— together with Mark Cuban to turn Cuban’s HD Net into AXS TV, which will premiere with a soft launch in July. Weinstein also worked with Ryan Seacrest and his company, Ryan Seacrest Media, to secure a commitment of up to $300 million in capital from Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital to pursue acquisitions.
Weinstein also counts among his clients Mandalay Sports Media (which he helped to create), Condé Nast Entertainment, Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video, Illumination and Tribeca Enterprises.
“This economic environment is incredibly difficult,” says Weinstein. “Everything is hard, and we expect everything to fall apart before it closes. But we work hard and we are aggressive. We think our chances to succeed for our clients is better than for others.”
Weinstein came to CAA in 2005, after working as a corporate associate in the New York and Los Angeles offices of the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Prior to that, while he was attending Columbia University School of Law, Weinstein was the founder and CEO of marketinginfo.com, a venture capital-funded Internet company.
Earlier, Weinstein graduated from Yale University and went to work for the Clinton/Gore presidential campaign in 1996. He then worked in the Justice Department during the Clinton administration before heading back to law school.
“All of this is us and our clients dreaming,” he says. “We want to benefit and assist the ambition and creativity of our clients. The best deals—the deals that close—are true partnerships.”
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