Ryan Reynolds Joins Other Big Celeb Deals With $1.35B Sale of Mint Mobile
Ryan Reynolds is the latest celebrity to watch his company blossom into a major takeover. On Wednesday, legacy network provider T-Mobile (TMUS) completed the purchase of Reynolds-backed Mint Mobile for $1.35 billion.
The sale includes 61% in stock and 39% in cash. However, Reynolds – who holds a minority stake in Mint Mobile – will continue to be the company’s face in marketing as the actor aims to work with the service provider for “years,” according to the Mint Mobile co-founder. David Glickman.
“We are so fortunate that T-Mobile has beaten an aggressive last-minute offer from my mother, Tammy Reynolds, as we believe the excellence of her 5G network is a better strategic fit than my mother’s slightly above-average mahjong skills,” said Reynolds jokingly in a statement.
It’s not the first time that big companies have gotten involved in celebrity business ventures.
Similarly, other celebrities with large private companies, particularly in the alcohol and cosmetics industries, have sold their stakes to larger companies.
Here’s a look at some of those buyouts:
Reynolds and Aviation Gin
The pandemic years saw a surge in celebrity alcohol deals, and it’s proven profitable.
And even after a buyout, most celebrities remain the face of the company.
Reynolds was a leader in promoting luxury alcohol brand Aviation Gin, which was acquired by Diageo (DEO) for $610 million in 2020.
The deal involved “an ongoing property interest” between the two, but Aviation Gin was not Reynolds’ creation. He became a co-owner in 2018 and has promoted the gin on talk shows and even in his superhero film Deadpool.
“I’ve tried every gin on the planet and Aviation is hands down the best,” Reynolds said. “Also, I don’t recommend trying every gin in the world. Stick with this one.”
Aviation Gin has been growing since the takeover. The company has expanded partnerships with international airlines such as British Airways and by September 2022 the company opened a 3,000 square meter distillery with interactive tours for visitors.
Diageo has been involved in other celebrity ventures before – the alcoholic beverages company acquired actor George Clooney’s tequila company Casamigos for $1 billion in 2017. Similar to Aviation Gin’s deal with Diageo, Clooney was able to remain with the company after the acquisition.
“This reflects Diageo’s belief in our company and our belief in Diageo,” Clooney told CNBC at the time. “But we’re not going anywhere. We will still be very much a part of Casamigos. Let’s start with a shot tonight. Maybe two.”
Like Diageo, other companies have invested in celebrity liquor stores.
Breaking Bad stars Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston’s mezcal company Dos Hombres Mezcal gave a minority stake to liquor wholesaler Constellation Brands (STZ) in 2021.
Proximo, the parent company of comedian Kevin Hart’s tequila brand, bought MMA fighter Conor McGregor’s Irish whiskey brand for $600 million in April 2021.
The Vampire Diaries co-stars Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley’s joint venture Brother’s Bond Bourbon shipped 50,000 cases in the first four months after the company launched in 2021, with pre-sales hitting $1.4 million.
In February 2022, German spirits giant Mast-Jägermeister acquired a stake in Teremana Tequila from actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Three months later, Thomas Ashbourne Craft Spirits brought together a larger collaborative spirit of celebrities by forming a founding team of Sarah Jessica Parker, John Cena, Ashley Benson, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Hudgens and Playboi Carti – each of whom presented their own blend of crafted products . Drink premium cocktails.
Celebrities and Cosmetics
Long before the liquor store became a trend in Hollywood, skincare and cosmetics were a major source of income for celebrities.
These ventures have helped make some of them billionaires.
Much of Rihanna’s net worth comes from her makeup line, Fenty Beauty, which helped her reach billionaire status in 2021. Fenty Beauty has a partnership with LVMH (MC.PA), a French multinational luxury goods group that has the likes of Louis Vuitton and Givenchy within its inventory.
Acquisitions are also common in the beauty industry. Influencer Kylie Jenner, who first launched Kylie Cosmetics in 2015, sold 51% ($600 million) of the company’s stake to beauty giant Coty (COTY), the parent company of Sally Hansen and CoverGirl. With the announcement of the acquisition, COTY’s pre-market shares rose 6% as Coty’s valuation of Kylie Cosmetics was $1.2 billion at the time.
Other big players in the cosmetics space include Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, and Lady Gaga, whose products can be found on popular marketplaces like Sephora, Ulta Beauty (ULTA), and even Amazon (AMZN).
Last month, Forma Brands — which had a licensing deal with Ariana Grande’s makeup company Rem Beauty — filed for bankruptcy with over $868 million in debt. Grande has now agreed to a $15 million merchandise buyback deal.
In addition to skincare and makeup, celebrity haircare and nail polish brands have also expanded. Insecure star Issa Rae became an equity partner of Sienna Naturals in September 2020, while artists Machine Gun Kelly and Harry Styles introduced their gender-neutral nail polish in 2021.
And last month, actress Tracee Ellis Ross’ Pattern Haircare launched at Macy’s (M).
Tanya is a data reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @tanjakaushal00.
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