Ryan Reynolds joins other big celebrity business deals with $1.35B Mint Mobile sale
It isn't the first time that a major company has gotten involved in a celebrity business venture.
Ryan Reynolds is the latest celebrity to see his business venture blossom into a major acquisition. On Wednesday, legacy network provider T-Mobile (TMUS) finalized its purchase of the Reynolds-backed Mint Mobile for $1.35 billion.
The sale consists of 61% in stock and 39% in cash. Reynolds — who holds a minority ownership stake in Mint Mobile — will continue to be the face of the company on marketing fronts as the actor has goals to “continue for years" with the service provider, according to Mint Mobile co-founder, David Glickman.
“We are so happy T-Mobile beat out an aggressive last-minute bid from my mom Tammy Reynolds as we believe the excellence of their 5G network will provide a better strategic fit than my mom’s slightly-above-average mahjong skills,” Reynolds said jokingly in a statement.
It isn't the first time that major companies have gotten involved in celebrity business ventures.
Similarly, other celebrities with large private businesses, especially in the alcohol and cosmetics industries, have sold their stake to bigger corporations.
Here's a look at some of those buyouts:
Reynolds and Aviation Gin
The pandemic years saw a rise in celebrity alcohol businesses, and it has proven to be profitable.
And even after a buyout, most celebrities remain the face of the company.
Reynolds has been at the forefront of promoting luxury alcohol brand Aviation Gin, which was acquired by Diageo (DEO) for $610 million in 2020.
The deal included "an ongoing ownership interest" between the two, but Aviation Gin wasn't Reynolds' creation. He became co-owner in 2018, and has promoted the gin on talk shows and even in his superhero movie "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 on the planet. Stick with this one."
Since the acquisition, Aviation Gin has been growing. The company has extended partnerships with international airlines like British Airways and by September 2022, the company launched a 33,000-square-foot distillery with interactive tours for visitors.
Diageo has been involved with other celebrity business ventures before — the alcoholic beverage 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 stay on with the company after the buyout.
"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’ll still be very much a part of Casamigos. Starting with a shot tonight. Maybe two."
Like Diageo, other corporations have invested in celebrity spirits businesses.
"Breaking Bad" stars Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston's mezcal company Dos Hombres Mezcal gave a minority stake to spirits wholesaler Constellation Brands (STZ) in 2021.
Proximo, the parent company of comedian Kevin Hart's tequila brand bought MMA fighter Conor McGregor's Irish whisky 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 within the first four months of the company's launch in 2021, with pre-sales reaching $1.4 million.
In February 2022, German spirits giant Mast-Jägermeister gained a stake in actor Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's Teremana Tequila.
Thomas Ashbourne Craft Spirits brought together a bigger celebrity collaborative spirit three months later by creating a founding team with Sarah Jessica Parker, John Cena, Ashley Benson, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Hudgens, and Playboi Carti — each of whom introduced their own blend of ready-to-drink premium cocktails.
Celebs and cosmetics
Long before the spirits business became a trend in Hollywood, skincare and cosmetics were major sources of revenue for celebrities.
These ventures have helped to make some of them billionaires.
A majority 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 corporation that has the likes of Louis Vuitton and Givenchy within its holdings.
Acquisitions are frequent in the beauty industry as well. 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 acquisition announcement, pre-market shares of COTY jumped 6%, as the Kylie Cosmetics valuation from Coty at the time stood at $1.2 billion.
Other major players in the cosmetics field include Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, and Lady Gaga, whose products can be found in common marketplaces like Sephora, Ulta Beauty (ULTA), and even Amazon (AMZN).
Last month, Forma Brands — who had a license agreement with Ariana Grande's makeup company r.e.m. Beauty — filed for bankruptcy with over $868 million worth of debt. Grande has now agreed to a buyback deal for goods worth $15 million.
Apart from skincare and makeup, haircare and nail polish brands have been expanding for celebrities as well. "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 @tanyakaushal00.
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