Kylie Jenner has explored taking back ownership of the cosmetics line she sold to Coty Inc. three years ago, according to people familiar with the matter, a sign of how the relationship between one of the world’s largest beauty companies and one of entertainment’s most famous families has become strained.
In recent months, Jenner has had informal discussions about trying to buy back the 51% stake in Kylie Cosmetics that Coty bought for $600 million in 2020, the people said, asking not be identified because the matter is private. There have been disagreements over price and valuation, according to the people.
Jenner’s half-sister Kim Kardashian is also in talks to buy back the 20% stake in her skincare line, SKKN by Kim, that Coty agreed to buy for $200 million the same year. Both women have expressed frustration with how Coty has managed their brands, two people familiar with their thinking said, though it’s not clear exactly which aspects of the company’s oversight they oppose.
A spokesman for Coty declined to comment. Representatives for Jenner and Kardashian didn’t respond to requests for comment. The news that Kardashian is trying to buy back her minority stake was first reported by the Wall Street Journal in July.
In a presentation to investors in July, Coty said makeup sales at Kylie Cosmetics grew by double-digit percentage in the prior quarter, boosted by a larger presence in Macy’s Inc. stores, entry into the Dubai market and the release of new Kylash mascara. The company doesn’t share revenue figures for specific brands.
The Kardashian-Jenner family, which became a household name through reality TV and social media, has been linked to Coty since 2019, when the company’s then-Chief Executive Officer Pierre Laubies opened deal talks. At the time, Coty outlined a plan to take the Kylie Cosmetics brand global, while allowing Jenner to retain some creative control.
Laubies stepped down shortly after the Jenner transaction and Peter Harf, chairman of both Coty and its top investor JAB Holding Company, took the CEO role. The company, also known for its CoverGirl and Max Factor brands, then closed the deal with Kardashian.
The dual investments amounted to an $800 million bet Coty could leverage the family’s massive popular following into long-term growth. Current CEO Sue Nabi inherited the arrangements when she took over in September 2020. She’s focused on expanding the company’s offering of skin care and fragrances at both mass-market and high-end price points.
Coty shares have gained 35% this year after repeatedly beating Wall Street sales estimates.
Coty’s majority stake in Kylie Cosmetics means Jenner faces a much bigger financial hurdle to buy back her business than Kardashian does. Coty could have an incentive to engage in talks to sell if Jenner remains dissatisfied with how the company is managing the brand that carries her name.