Ryan Reynolds joins other big celebrity business deals with sale of Mint Mobile for $1.35 billion

Ryan Reynolds is the latest celebrity whose business venture turned into a major acquisition. On Wednesday, legacy network provider T-Mobile ( TMUS ) finalized its purchase of Reynolds-backed Mint Mobile for $1.35 billion.

The sale consists of 61% stock and 39% cash. Reynolds — who holds a minority stake in Mint Mobile — will continue to be the face of the company on the marketing front, as the actor aims to “continue for years” with the service provider, according to Mint Mobile co-founder David Glickman.

“We are so happy that T-Mobile beat out an aggressive last-minute bid from my mother, Tammy Reynolds, as we believe the superiority of their 5G network will provide a better strategic fit than my mother’s mahjong skills, which are few above average,” Reynolds quipped in a statement.

Actor Ryan Reynolds owns a minority stake in Mint Mobile. (Photo: Mint Mobile/YouTube)

This isn’t the first time big companies have gotten involved in celebrity business ventures.

Similarly, other celebrities with large private businesses, particularly in the alcohol and cosmetics industries, have sold their stakes to larger corporations.

Here’s a look at some of those buyouts:

Reynolds and Aviation Gin

The pandemic years saw a boom in the celebrity booze business, and it turned out to be profitable.

And even after a buyout, most celebrities remain the face of the company.

Reynolds is at the forefront of promoting luxury spirit brand Aviation Gin, which was acquired by Diageo ( DEO ) for $610 million in 2020.

The deal included a “continuing ownership interest” between the two, but Aviation Gin was not Reynolds’ creation. He became a co-owner in 2018 and 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,” said Reynolds. “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 expanded its partnerships with international airlines such as British Airways, and by September 2022, the company is launching a 33,000-square-foot distillery with interactive tours for visitors.

Diageo has been involved in other celebrity business ventures before – the spirits company acquired actor George Clooney’s tequila company Casamigos for $1 billion in 2017. Like Aviation Gin’s deal with Diageo, Clooney was able to stay with the company after the buyout .

“It reflects Diageo’s faith in our company and our faith in Diageo,” Clooney told CNBC at the time. “But we’re not going anywhere. We will still be a big part of Casamigos. Starting with one 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 has given a minority stake to spirits wholesaler Constellation Brands (STZ) in 2021.

Atmosphere at the Casamigos Tequila London launch on October 1, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by David M. Bennett/Dave Bennett/Getty Images for Casamigos Tequila)

Atmosphere at the Casamigos Tequila London launch on October 1, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Bennett/Dave Bennett/Getty Images for Casamigos Tequila)

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’ Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley joint venture, Brother’s Bond Bourbon, has shipped 50,000 cases within the first four months of the company’s 2021 launch, with preliminary sales reaching $1.4 million.

In February 2022, German spirits giant Mast-Jägermeister acquired a stake in actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Teremana Tequila.

Thomas Ashbourne Craft Spirits gathered more celebrity collaboration three months later, forming a founding team with Sarah Jessica Parker, John Cena, Ashley Benson, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Hudgens and Playboi Carti — each introducing their own a mix of ready-to-drink premium cocktails.

Celebrities and cosmetics

Long before the spirits business became a trend in Hollywood, skin care and cosmetics were major sources of income for celebrities.

These ventures have helped some of them become billionaires.

Rihanna celebrates the Fenty Beauty launch at ULTA Beauty on March 12, 2022 in Los Angeles.  (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Fenty Beauty by Rihanna)

Rihanna celebrates the Fenty Beauty launch at ULTA Beauty on March 12, 2022 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Fenty Beauty by Rihanna)

Most 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 in their holdings.

Acquisitions are also common in the beauty industry. Influencer Kylie Jenner, who first launched Kylie Cosmetics in 2015, has sold a 51% ($600 million) stake in the company to beauty giant Coty ( COTY ), the parent company of Sally Hansen and CoverGirl. With the announcement of the acquisition, pre-launch COTY shares jumped 6% as Coty’s valuation of Kylie Cosmetics at the time was $1.2 billion.

Other big players in cosmetics include Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, and Lady Gaga, whose products can be found at brick-and-mortar markets like Sephora, Ulta Beauty ( ULTA ), and even Amazon ( AMZN ).

Last month, Forma Brands — which had a licensing agreement with Ariana Grande’s makeup company rem Beauty — filed for bankruptcy with more than $868 million in debt. Grande has now agreed to a $15 million merchandise buyback deal.

In addition to skin care and makeup products, hair care and nail polish brands are also expanding to celebrities. Insecure star Issa Rae became an equity partner of Sienna Naturals in September 2020, while artists Machine Gun Kelly and Harry Styles launched 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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