There’s no keeping up with this Kardashian relative.
Kylie Jenner is the first member of the reality-TV clan to add “billionaire” to her résumé after flipping a controlling share of her Kylie Cosmetics line to Coty — the parent company of CoverGirl and other beauty mainstays — for $600 million, the new business partners announced on Monday.
The blush-inducing cash transaction lands Coty a 51 percent stake in the burgeoning beauty brand and makes Kylie the wealthiest member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan — at just 22 years old.
“Kylie is a modern-day icon, with an incredible sense of the beauty consumer,” Peter Harf, Coty’s chairman of the board, crowed in announcing the deal, expected to formally close in early 2020.
“We believe in the high potential of building a global beauty brand together.”
Indeed, Coty honchos characterized the industry-shaking news as a “partnership,” stressing that Jenner would maintain an active role in designing new products and would remain the face of the brand.
It’s that familiar face, first thrust into the mainstream on the smash reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” on which Coty will rely to inject life into the sagging cosmetics industry.
“On one side, Kylie brings her incredible strong brand equity … with unparalleled social media reach among Generation Z consumers,” Coty Chief Financial Officer Pierre Andre Terrise said in a conference call.
“On social media, Kylie has over 270 million followers,” he added. “To put this in perspective, with a single post, she’s able to reach more than double the number of people who watch the Super Bowl every year.”
That global reach, particularly among young consumers, helped make Kylie Cosmetics a runaway success in the face of an industry-wide downturn.
Forbes in March labeled Jenner the youngest self-made billionaire in world history. But the title drew derision, with some objecting to the term “self-made,” given that Jenner derives much of her fame from being the half-sister of Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian.
That valuation was also based on the notion that she pulled nearly $100 million from the company over the years. But with Monday’s announcement, there is no doubt she is a billionaire.
Using $250,000 she had squirreled away from modeling gigs, Jenner in 2015 hired an outside company to produce the first 15,000 Kylie Lip Kits, according to a 2018 profile in the business magazine.
Between Kylie’s own famously plump lips — admittedly aided by fillers, until she shunned them in pursuit of a “more natural look” with the 2018 birth of daughter Stormi, according to Harper’s Bazaar — and a relentless social-media campaign, hype for the kits snowballed.
On their release, the initial batch of $29 lip kits sold out online in less than a minute, and a billion-dollar business was born.
Jenner made Kylie Cosmetics her primary hustle, and by 2018 it was a juggernaut with $360 million in annual revenue and a Forbes valuation of at least $900 million.
Among its secrets is virtually nonexistent overhead, with only seven full-time and five part-time employees as of the 2018 Forbes profile.
The barely drinking-age mogul also scored an exclusive deal with retailer Ulta Beauty to carry her products in 1,100 locations, and this year launched Kylie Skin, a selection of moisturizers and facial creams.
Now Jenner — who reportedly earns about $1 million per sponsored Instagram post for products ranging from sunglasses to vitamins to tea — will have the backing to expand her brand’s worldwide reach.
“I can’t wait for all of the amazing things to come for @kylieskin and @kyliecosmetics!” Jenner tweeted Monday to her 29.3 million Twitter followers.
“I’m excited to partner with @cotyinc to continue to expand my brands globally. This is only the beginning!”
Although Jenner — who also pockets an unspecified cut of her family’s E! reality series — has parlayed her fame into success in a now troubled industry, the cracks have begun to show.
When whispers began over the summer that Jenner was looking to flip a majority share of the 3-year-old, $1.2 billion company, The Post exclusively reported sales had waned, with a 14 percent dip in the first half of 2019, according to online-purchase tracker Rakuten Intelligence.
Coty offered a rosier projection in Monday’s conference call announcing the newest jewel in its empire, saying Kylie Cosmetics had taken in about $177 million in net revenue in the 12 months prior to the acquisition.
But Wall Street analysts raised their eyebrows at the massive outlay by Coty amid an industry-wide downturn plaguing even reliable brands like Estee Lauder, Loreal and Sephora.
“Brands tied to a celebrity have a unique risk in that their popularity can ebb and flow with the popularity of the celebrity,” said Rebecca Scheuneman, an analyst with Morningstar. “That’s one risk we don’t care for with the deal.”
The markets, at least initially, tended to side with Coty, which enjoyed a 5 percent bump in sales as word of the sale spread during morning trading.
Coty execs maintained on Monday that Jenner is “not a fad,” and that they expect a mutually beneficial union, with the conglomerate gaining a mega-watt face and Kylie Cosmetics achieving international reach.
“We clearly are complementary. We cannot bring what she brings, and she cannot bring what we bring,” CFO Terrise said.
“I think the main motivation for Coty is probably the main motivation as for Kylie. It’s seeing the baby grow, seeing the baby becoming something, and getting the financial reward for that.
“We think that this is basically the dynamic in which we entered this partnership and what’s going to make Kylie and Coty stay on board of this wonderful adventure.”
With wire services
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