Nearly four years ago, Kylie Jenner became a self-made billionaire by selling 51% of her company, Kylie Cosmetics, for $600 million. The winning bidder, Coty, is part of the German conglomerate JAB, which owns Krispy Kreme, Einstein Bagels, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Panera Bread, and several other food and beverage and consumer goods companies. In 2020, Coty announced it was taking a 20% stake, worth $200 million, in Kim Kardashian’s skincare line, SKKN by Kim.
At the time, Kylie Cosmetics was valued at about $1.2 billion. But since the purchase, no one can seem to agree on the valuation of the company. Now, Jenner and Kardashian are initiating conversations to try and buy back the stakes they sold, though neither one appears to be very close to coming to terms on a deal.
Jenner and Kardashian are displeased with the way Coty is running the business. In July, Coty told investors that makeup sales at Kylie Cosmetics increased by a double-digit percentage from the previous quarter, thanks to wider distribution and the company’s new Kylash mascara.
Coty shares have steadily increased this year as the company has continued expanding both brands to a global scale. Neither Jenner nor Kardashian has commented on what specifically they don’t approve of with the company’s direction, but since their names are still affiliated with the company, they have a strong desire to protect their personal brands.
On the topic of brands — JAB is owned by the Reimann family, who, just a few years ago, learned their ancestors were Nazi supporters. The Reimann family is one of the richest in Germany and donated $11.4 million to charity after their revelation.
Kardashian might have an easier go of things since she didn’t sell a majority stake. But Jenner gave up majority control of Kylie Cosmetics, which could prove to be a tougher road to navigate.
She’ll likely have to pony up more money, too, since Coty has seen recent financial success. However, if Kylie Cosmetics was, in fact, overvalued during the initial sale, maybe a 51% stake would be worth less money today than in 2019.
It’s going to be interesting to watch how everything unfolds. We’ve seen both Jenner and Kardashian display shrewd business tactics before; they’ll have to do it again to regain control of their companies.