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Kavner OVITZ CALLS AT&T'S KAVNER

By Published on .

Michael Ovitz, whose deal-making acumen has made him Hollywood's wizard of ahs, now wants to be lord over the interactive yellow brick road.

In hiring AT&T Corp.'s multimedia chief last week, Mr. Ovitz's Creative Artists Agency is positioning itself at the center of the information superhighway.

Robert Kavner, AT&T's exec VP for multimedia products and services, will join the Beverly Hills, Calif., talent agency July 1 as a "senior executive." CAA is not big on titles.

Mr. Ovitz is talent agent to the stars in Hollywood, produces TV commercials for Coca-Cola Co. and was matchmaker in the merger of MCA and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. He used to hobnob with ex-Apple Computer Chairman John Sculley and recently has had private talks about multimedia with Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates-and with AT&T.

Mr. Kavner is supposed to help clients identify and develop opportunities in the convergence of Hollywood, Silicon Valley and communications. That means finding new-media work for Hollywood talent and attracting new-media companies as clients. It's also possible CAA could look for interactive deals for ad clients like Coca-Cola.

Beverly Hills rival International Creative Management has had the highest profile among Hollywood talent agencies maneuvering into new media.

Mr. Kavner, a 10-year AT&T veteran, was a Coopers & Lybrand partner and AT&T chief financial officer before jumping into multimedia. So Mr. Ovitz has hired an accountant from the phone company. But Mr. Ovitz says his new associate "has a style that fits well here at CAA."

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