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Kylie Jenner joins with family that can keep up with Kardashians

Ben Stupples and Kim Bhasin

Bloomberg

 /  Tue, November 19, 2019  /  01:45 pm
Kylie Jenner joins with family that can keep up with Kardashians

Kylie Jenner Kylie Jenner attends the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology on May 2, 2016. (shutterstock.com/Sky Cinema/File)

The family behind Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Panera Bread is turning to the Kardashian clan for its latest investment.

The Reimanns of Germany are major shareholders of Coty Inc., which is buying a 51 percent stake in Kylie Jenner’s cosmetics line for $600 million, valuing the company she founded as a teenager at roughly $1.2 billion.

It’s another high-profile purchase for a low key European dynasty. The family has spent about $60 billion on myriad deals through Coty’s majority owner, JAB Holding Co., building a conglomerate that spans soft drinks, coffee and fashion. For Jenner, the 22-year-old billionaire half-sister of Kim Kardashian, the deal underscores her appeal to younger shoppers and the value of her vast social media presence. She has 151 million followers on Instagram.

The Reimanns must be hoping the deal helps reinvigorate Coty, which has struggled to turn its business around after several difficult years. In July, the company said it would take a $3 billion writedown as its underperforming mass-market labels languished against hot new brands. Rivals including L’Oreal SA, Estee Lauder Cos. and Shiseido Co. have spent billions of dollars in recent years to attract younger consumers.

In July, Chief Executive Officer Pierre Laubies outlined his turnaround plans. He overhauled the management structure and said Coty would focus on improving margins and reducing leverage while cutting costs. Management is moving to Amsterdam from London, though the corporate headquarters will remain in New York.

Now Coty is considering a sale of its professional hair and nail labels -- brands that sell to salons such as Wella and OPI -- a business that’s expected to generate about $2.7 billion of sales this year. The company’s Brazilian operations are also being reviewed for a potential deal.

Lip liner

Coty intends to take the Kylie label global. What started as an online direct-to-consumer brand expanded into physical stores through a 2018 partnership with Ulta Beauty, which has more than 1,100 shops across the US, Coty said in a statement that it will focus on international growth and enter into new categories of beauty products.

Shares of Coty rose 1.5 percent to $12.09 at 1:49 p.m. in New York, extending this year’s gain to 84 percent.

Read also: Keeping up with Kylie: Jenner is world's youngest billionaire

Jenner started her cosmetics business in 2015 with a line of lip kits, which pair liquid lipstick with pencil lip liner. She has since expanded into more makeup, such as eye shadow palettes and pressed powder blushes, and skincare products that include eye cream and hydrating face masks. The beauty business has generated $177 million of revenue over the past 12 months, according to the statement.

She became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire earlier this year after signing an exclusive partnership with Ulta. She’s a daughter of Kris Jenner, who helps manage the business, and Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, an Olympic champion. Kylie Jenner is the youngest member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan made famous in part by “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” a TV drama that debuted in 2007.

Her wealth still pales in comparison to her new shareholders. Five family members -- Wolfgang Reimann, Renate Reimann-Haas, Stefan Reimann-Andersen, Matthias Reimann-Andersen and Andrea Reimann-Ciardelli -- are worth at least $7 billion combined, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The Reimann fortune had its beginnings in 1828, when Ludwig Reimann, a chemist, joined Johann Adam Benckiser at the chemical company he founded five years earlier in Pforzheim, Germany. In 1858, Reimann moved the operation to Ludwigshafen. Reimann Jr. joined the firm in 1923, at age 25, helping to run the company alongside his father and uncles.

This year, the family grappled with a legacy of Nazi ties. It had used Russian civilians and French prisoners of war as forced labor for their businesses and private villas during the Nazi era, according to a German newspaper report.

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