Apr 23, 2024 - Business

Kim Kardashian's private equity firm hits fundraising hurdles

Photo illustration of Jay Sammons and Kim Kardashian in front of a pattern of scatted one hundred dollars bills and large graphic downward-pointing arrows.

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photos: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for SKIMS

It's been over a year and a half since Kim Kardashian teamed with Carlyle Group vet Jay Sammons to launch SKKY Partners, a consumer-focused private equity firm, but the early buzz has given way to the slog of first-time fundraising.

By the numbers: SKKY only secured $121 million in capital commitments through late March, according to federal securities filings.

  • That included nearly $80 million structured as a special purpose vehicle for a minority investment in Truff, a maker of truffle-infused hot sauces that is said to have been valued at around $250 million.
  • SKKY is raising money via rolling closes, having officially launched fundraising in March 2023 without a formal end date. The SPV eventually will be incorporated into the main fund, which features a 20% carried interest that's subject to an 8% compound preferred return.
  • Sources say that SKKY may have raised new money in the month since its securities filings, or is on the verge of doing so, but it's still a far cry from the $1-$2 billion goals being floated during pre-marketing.

Behind the scenes: The Boston-based firm's biggest problem is declining LP interest in consumer private equity, which is even more pronounced in a soft fundraising environment.

  • Recall that Carlyle, Sammons' old firm, said last fall that it would stop consumer dealmaking altogether.

Zoom out: SKKY also has something of a double-edged sword in Kardashian.

  • On the one hand, she has a demonstrated ability to build large consumer brands and can attract the sort of inbound interest that other dealmakers can only dream about. Skims, for example, is now worth $4 billion.
  • On the other, she has a surplus of other demands on her time, and her celebrity could cause some institutional investors to flinch at presenting SKKY to stodgy investment committees (particularly those old enough to recall the Elevation Partners/Bono fiasco). Expect family offices to be more amenable.
  • There also are questions about how SKKY would sell companies whose brands have been elevated by Kardashian — given that she'd be exiting — although the firm has been clear that her role is to be more as a traditional private equity adviser than as a brand ambassador or promoter.
  • Fun fact: Kardashian's stake in the firm is partially held by a vehicle called Favorite Daughter Inc.

The bottom line: SKKY, which declined comment, has put together a strong team, according to both LPs and peers. But those investors can't really cook until they get more money in the pantry.

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