Kim Kardashian launched a private equity firm to acquire stakes in fast-growing media and consumer companies, with the goal of turning her fame and influence with her 329 million Instagram followers into financial returns.
The new company, SKKY Partners, is a collaboration between reality TV star turned business magnate and Jay Sammons, a former CEO of The Carlyle Group who has created a place to invest in celebrity-backed ventures.
It reflects the growing financial sophistication of a generation of artists, who have greeted dispersed audiences and the emergence of online platforms as an opportunity to make money from their personal brands without ceding value to legacy media companies that once served as gatekeepers.
Sammons is a leader in that strategy. At Carlyle, he has taken a multi-billion dollar private equity firm into the unfamiliar world of show business, and has generated outstanding returns from star-studded deals, including investing in headphone maker Beats by Dre.
But her 2019 acquisition of a stake in Big Machine Records sparked controversy when Taylor Swift, one of the brand’s biggest stars, complained that the deal had handed control of the lead recordings of six of her multi-platinum albums to a man she viewed as her. Nemesis, CEO of Music Scooter Brown.
Sammons’ latest project Accompanying him with a Family has delivered a steady stream of celebrity dramas after gaining fame in 2007 through the hit reality TV show. keeping up with the Kardashians.
Since then, they’ve proven a knack for monetizing their ability to add celebrity shine to consumer brands, including lingerie brand Skims, and KKW, a makeup brand that Coty Cosmetics invested $1 billion in in 2020.
SKKY announced its arrival in a tweet saying that “target sectors include consumer products, digital and electronic commerce, consumer media, and hospitality and luxury.” The company provided few other details and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
No money has yet been raised to carry out the planned investments, according to the Wall Street Journal, which revealed that Kardashian’s mother, Kris Jenner, will also be a partner.
But other companies have tested institutional demand for celebrity-backed investments focused on the consumer sector, and have enjoyed a measure of success.
Stock files show that Marcy Venture Partners, a company co-founded by rapper Jay-Z, last year began raising money for a second institutional fund with a goal of $200 million.
Another celebrity-backed company, Casa Verde Capital, has invested in products ranging from fintech platforms to cannabis-based snacks. The company’s website confirms 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 company’s identity.”