Business is booming.

Will London’s members-only scene work in New York?

One scoop to start: Goldman Sachs is preparing to implement another round of job cuts in the coming weeks for employees deemed to be bottom performers at the Wall Street bank, according to people familiar with the matter. 

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In today’s newsletter: 

  • New York’s members’ club resurgence

  • Pinault’s bet on Hollywood 

  • Armani’s succession plan

New York City’s members-only movement

Sitting opposite the New York headquarters of some of Wall Street’s boldfaced names — Apollo Global Management, Veritas Capital, Tiger Global, D1 Capital and Coatue Management — is a new private club that’s charging $200,000 upfront for a membership.

It’s a bet by the owners of the Aman that wealthy New Yorkers (including the folks working in 9 West 57th Street) are willing to pony up for a spot to sip Negronis behind a velvet rope. That calculation has been a winner in London, where members-only clubs like The Ned and Richard Caring’s club Annabel’s draw in bankers for after-work drinks and client meetings.

Now the Aman, and a coterie of other clubs, are importing that same business model to the US, the FT’s Joshua Chaffin reports. Whether it will work in faster-paced New York, a city littered with haughty bars and restaurants, remains to be seen. 

That could prove financially painful to the backers of these new spots. Remember, Soho House is a money-losing business and the company has lost almost half of its market capitalisation since listing in 2021.

The pitch today is that the likes of Soho House never went high-end enough. Dealmakers, after all, were more likely to want to meet for drinks at The Grill (which took over the space of the iconic Four Seasons in Midtown) or the St Regis than at the members-only Yale Club or Soho House.

So, take a cue from what the luxury goods houses and credit card companies have done: raise prices and put on the appearance that, in this case, the ambience and fare are somehow better than what can be had with a reservation on Resy.

That’s what Zero Bond is doing downtown. For an annual fee of $3,850 plus a one-time $1,000 initiation, the members’ club offers a chance to mingle with downtown-cool types, a Kardashian or two and even New York’s nightlife-loving mayor Eric Adams.

Ditto Casa Cipriani, an offshoot of the famed Italian restaurant where guests can work and play while enjoying views of the Statue of Liberty and “share life’s simple pleasures” — and generous disposable incomes. Spa treatments and Cipriani’s famous lemon meringue cake on-demand are notable perks.

Then there’s Casa Cruz — a restaurant with special privileges for “partners” — which starts at $250,000, a London expat told the FT.

The private members’ club Casa Cipriani in Lower Manhattan
The private members’ club Casa Cipriani in Lower Manhattan © Darian DiCianno/

DD is less than sanguine about their prospects with the finance set. Sure, exclusivity has always had its pull in New York. But part of the game is also being seen: it’s why executives in the media world are still having breakfast at Michael’s after all these years, and why bankers were yearning for Casa Lever to reopen in Midtown.

The Wall Street ethos also has many mid- and upper-level financiers eating lunch at their desks and grinding out deals deep into the night. 

TPG makes a big windfall in Hollywood

TPG has struck a deal to sell its controlling stake in heavyweight Hollywood and sports talent agency CAA to France’s billionaire Pinault family, in a deal that will mint a large windfall for the US private equity firm and put one of Europe’s richest families at the centre of the media and sports worlds. 

The Pinault family, which owns large stakes in luxury-oriented businesses like Gucci owner Kering and the Christie’s auction house, will purchase TPG’s 53 per cent stake at a valuation above $7bn, sources told the FT.

The deal is the largest in the family’s history and comes as its $40bn holding company Artémis seeks to diversify its operations from consumer businesses such as Saint Laurent.

TPG’s bet on CAA surprised many industry observers: the knock on CAA and its rivals has been that the talent — its star agents — walk out the door every day.

Superagents like CAA’s Bryan Lourd — rep for Hollywood royalty Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Scarlett Johansson — are CAA’s most valuable asset. But they can easily leave and start their own firms, a risk to the long-term value of any agency.

TPG took a different view in 2010 when it became one of the first private equity firms to make a large investment in talent agencies, buying a 35 per cent stake in CAA at a $700mn valuation. It saw an asset-light business that was tethered to two sectors where valuations kept rising: sports and media.

In 2021, TPG tried to take CAA public, but it worried public markets wouldn’t properly value the business. Instead, it created a $1.3bn “continuation fund” that moved CAA from a 2008-era buyout fund set to expire into a new fund with new outside investors Goldman Sachs Asset Management, ICG and Neuberger Berman.

Pinault’s purchase will vindicate the fund, though these vehicles have drawn scrutiny. CAA’s valuation has more than doubled, creating a windfall for rolling investors like Temasek and TPG. The buyout firm ploughed a significant portion of its carried interest in CAA into the fund, sources told DD. 

Talent agencies are now the rage in private equity. In 2012, Silver Lake took a minority stake in Ari Emanuel’s William Morris, while EQT last year invested in United Talent Agency

Private equity firms think they understand the talent agency business model better than any other investor; their big talent walks out the door every day too.

Armani plots a legacy that doesn’t involve the French

As the sole shareholder and chief executive of his eponymous fashion house, 89-year-old Giorgio Armani is determined not to let it become one of the many Italian luxury labels that gets eaten up by Kering, LVMH or Richemont

“These French groups want to do everything, I don’t get it . . . it’s a bit ridiculous,” he told the FT’s Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli in an interview. “Why should I be dominated by one of these mega structures that lack personality?”

Giorgio Armani
Giorgio Armani in Venice, where the group’s catwalk show dovetailed with the film festival

Analysts and investors have often doubted the Italian group — which includes brands such as Emporio Armani, Armani Exchange and the higher-end Giorgio Armani, as well as luxury hotels, restaurants and a beauty line — can stay independent. It’s the only big Italian fashion group aside from Dolce & Gabbana to be privately owned. 

Giorgio Armani said he wants his closest aides, including niece and co-designer Silvana Armani and his longtime lieutenant Pantaleo Dell’Orco, to be ready to take over.

The designer has also set up a charitable foundation that will own an undisclosed stake in the company after his death, with his family (he has no children) inheriting the rest and being bound to sell their shares to the foundation. 

Job moves

  • Following its $1bn acquisition of infrastructure firm Energy Capital Partners announced on Wednesday, buyout group Bridgepoint will split the chair and chief executive roles held by William Jackson, with Jackson remaining chair and group managing partner Raoul Hughes becoming CEO.

  • Melrose Industries’ co-founders — CEO Simon Peckham and executive vice-chair Christopher Miller — are leaving the UK turnaround specialist-turned aerospace group. Chief operating officer Peter Dilnot will take over as CEO in March. 

  • Wells Fargo’s vice-chair of public affairs William Daley, the White House chief of staff to former president Barack Obama, will retire at the end of this year.

  • Boutique investment bank Ducera Partners has hired Greenhill & Co’s Christopher Grubb to lead its mergers and acquisitions business and launch an office in San Francisco.

Smart reads

The unbelievable life of Li Lu The Chinese dissident-turned-investor made a fortune adopting western capitalist values — making billions on his former country in the process, as chronicled in this FT Magazine piece.

Digging for treasure Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to turn the kingdom into a mining hub for copper and other resources. But the industry’s power players have yet to back him, Bloomberg reports.

A farewell to Arm There are many reasons not to buy Arm Holdings, our colleagues at Alphaville write. Starting with its founders’ shoddy IPO record.

News round-up

Former Sam Bankman-Fried lieutenant pleads guilty in FTX case (FT)

Carlyle explores £1bn sale of UK video games maker Jagex (FT)

Daily Mail in talks over Qatari funding for Telegraph bid (FT)

Citigroup seeks deal for small-bank platform after loan requests top $1bn (FT)

CBI in merger talks with Make UK (FT)

BAT sells Russian business to local management (FT)

Smurfit Kappa/WestRock: packaging combination should offer more than paper gains (Lex)

Due Diligence is written by Arash Massoudi, Ivan Levingston, William Louch and Robert Smith in London, James Fontanella-Khan, Francesca Friday, Ortenca Aliaj, Sujeet Indap, Eric Platt, Mark Vandevelde and Antoine Gara in New York, Kaye Wiggins in Hong Kong, George Hammond and Tabby Kinder in San Francisco, and Javier Espinoza in Brussels. Please send feedback to

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