Kim Kardashian launches private equity firm

Kim Kardashian is launching a private equity firm to acquire stakes in fast-growing media and consumer companies, aiming to convert her celebrity and influence with 329mn Instagram followers into financial returns.

The new firm, SKKY Partners, is a collaboration between the reality TV star turned business mogul and Jay Sammons, a former Carlyle Group executive who has carved out a niche investing in celebrity-backed ventures.

It reflects the increasing financial sophistication of a generation of entertainers, who have greeted fragmenting audiences and the rise of online platforms as an opportunity to monetize their personal brands without ceding value to the old-line media companies that once served as gatekeepers.

Sammons is a pioneer of that strategy. At Carlyle, he took a multibillion-dollar private equity firm into the unfamiliar world of show business, reaping standout returns from star-studded deals, including an investment in the headphone maker Beats by Dre.

But his 2019 acquisition of a stake in Big Machine Records attracted controversy when one of the label’s biggest stars, Taylor Swift, complained that the deal had handed control of the master recordings of six of her multi-platinum albums to a man she viewed as her nemesis, the music executive Scooter Braun.

Sammons’ latest venture aligns him with a family that has provided a steady stream of celebrity drama after attaining fame in 2007 with the hit reality TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Since then, they have proved adept at monetizing their ability to add a sheen of celebrity to consumer brands, including shapewear label Skims, and KKW, a make-up brand in which cosmetics maker Coty invested at a $1bn valuation in 2020.

SKKY announced its arrival in a tweet, stating that its “target sectors include consumer products, digital and ecommerce, consumer media, hospitality and luxury”. The firm gave few other details and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

No funds have yet been raised with which to carry out the planned investments, according to the Wall Street Journal, which disclosed that Kardashian’s mother, Kris Jenner, would also be a partner.

But other firms have tested institutional demand for celebrity-backed investments focused on the consumer sector, and enjoyed a measure of success.

Marcy Venture Partners, a firm co-founded by the rapper Jay-Z, last year began raising money for a second institutional fund with a target of $200mn, securities filings show.

Another celebrity-backed outfit, Casa Verde Capital, has invested in products ranging from fintech platforms to cannabis-based snacks. The firm’s website emphasizes its relationship with rapper Snoop Dogg, whom it describes as “a leading icon paving the way in pop culture” and “a key member of the . . . team responsible for crafting the firm’s identity”.

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