Kylie Jenner isn’t a billionaire after all, Forbes magazine said on Friday accusing the reality TV star’s family of ‘inflating the value of her cosmetics business for years.’
Shares of Coty plummeted 13 percent on Friday after Forbes magazine published an article based on an examination of financial filings after the beauty mogul sold a majority share in her cosmetics company.
Jenner sold a 51 percent stake in her brand to beauty giant Coty in January for $600 million in a deal that valued the company at $1.2 billion.
On Friday, after Forbes dropped the bombshell news, shares slightly dipped to $3.60
All change: Coty, which has been struggling with falling sales, saw a share increase of 5 percent following the Jenner announcement last year. The share price was at $12.32
But Forbes, who had declared the 22-year-old a billionaire in March 2019, said in an article published on its website that the fine print of the deal reveals that the business is ‘significantly smaller and less profitable’ than they were led to believe.
Jenner was removed from Forbes’ Billionaire List on Friday after the outlet claimed she had ‘inflated the size and success of her business for years.’
It also accused the famous family, of which Kylie is the youngest member, of creating tax returns that were ‘likely forged.
Investors saw Coty’s stock close down 13 percent, to $3.63 a share. So far this year the stock has dropped 67 percent.
‘Kris and Kylie are freaking out and fear that this is going to hurt their brand, and even worse, they could be in trouble with the government,’ revealed an insider to The Sun.
The source also claimed that Kylie and Kris are ‘definitely worried’ about the potential legal and social ramifications of this controversy ‘tarnishing’ their family’s reputation.
Freaking out: ‘Kris and Kylie are freaking out and fear that this is going to hurt their brand, and even worse, they could be in trouble with the government,’ revealed an insider to The Sun on Friday; Kris and Kylie pictured in 2016
Top financial fraud attorney Jan Handzlik told DailyMail.com on Friday that Kylie could face a criminal investigation over the alleged exaggerations.
‘My guess is that at a minimum the SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) will begin what they call an informal inquiry and then perhaps elevate that to a formal investigation, which gives them subpoena power,’ Handzlik said.
He added: ‘In this matter you’ve got a mixture of things that may lead to both civil and criminal scrutiny early on: obviously the celebrity aspect, the large amount of the alleged exaggeration, and the highly public nature.
‘All of this is like catnip to a prosecutor or the SEC, because it will lead to very heavy coverage of what takes place.’
Impressive: In 2019, Kylie was hailed as the ‘youngest ‘self-made’ billionaire for the second year in a row (pictured on the 2018 cover)
After the bombshell report emerged on Friday, Kylie took to Twitter to slam Forbes.
Jan Handzlik, who served five years as a federal prosecutor in LA and now defends celebrities and big companies in financial fraud cases, said the alleged exaggerations could land Jenner in a world of legal trouble
The reality star was taken by surprise at the article, tweeting: ‘What am i even waking up to. i thought this was a reputable site. all i see are a number of inaccurate statements and unproven assumptions lol. i’ve never asked for any title or tried to lie my way there EVER. period.’
She followed up with a quote from the Forbes report that accused the Jenners and their accountant of producing false tax returns. ‘Even creating tax returns that were likely forged that’s your proof? so you just THOUGHT they were forged? like actually what am i reading,’ Kylie tweeted incredulously.
In another post she added: ‘but okay i am blessed beyond my years, i have a beautiful daughter, and a successful business and i’m doing perfectly fine.’
Forbes put Kylie on the cover of its women billionaires in 2018, named her the world’s youngest self-made billionaire in 2019 and again in 2020.
Handzlik, who has more than 100 trials under his belt, said that after a possible grilling by the SEC, Kylie could also face a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice (DoJ).
‘Those things may very well lead to the US Attorney’s office and the Southern District of New York in particular jumping sooner than they might otherwise,’ he said.
‘If the Department of Justice decides to make this a criminal case… if there were to be a conviction, that could include jail time for any individuals who were responsible.’
‘Inaccurate statements’: After the bombshell report emerged on Friday, Kylie took to Twitter to slam Forbes. The 22-year-old reality star was taken by surprise at the article, tweeting: ‘What am i even waking up to. i thought this was a reputable site. all i see are a number of inaccurate statements and unproven assumptions lol. i’ve never asked for any title or tried to lie my way there EVER. period’
Not worried: Kylie reacted to a tweet that questioned why she cared about it with so much going on in the news
Jenner, the youngest sibling of the Kardashian family, started her make up line with lipstick kits in 2015. Kylie Cosmetics signed a deal with Ulta Beauty Inc to put her products in all of the retailer’s 1,163 U.S. stores (above)
The controversy has exploded around a $1.2 billion deal for Kylie Cosmetics, in which Kylie sold a 51 percent stake to makeup giant Coty for $600 million in January.
At the time, Wall Street suspected Coty may have overpaid for the majority stake. The worries were fueled by new financial disclosures made by the publicly listed company, which revealed earnings for Kylie Cosmetics were far lower than Kylie previously claimed.
As part of a relentless campaign to get Forbes to rank Kardashian-Jenner family members at the top of their richest list, the celebrity family had told the magazine Kylie Cosmetics made $360 million in revenue for 2018.
But Coty’s SEC documents revealed the figure was in fact about $125 million – less than a third of their claims.
The magazine reported that Kylie’s reps told them her new skin care line, which launched in May 2019, made $100 million in revenue in its first month and a half.
But Coty’s figures show the product line ‘on track’ to make only $25 million in sales for the year.
Forbes claims that since 2016 the reps for the reality star family invited the list’s authors to Kylie’s mansion and arranged meetings with their accountants in an attempt to convince the magazine to bump them up the rich list.
In August 2018 the family got what they wanted: Kylie was pictured on the front page under the headline ‘America’s Women Billionaires’.
Kylie is not a billionaire, Forbes claimed on Friday. They accused the ‘self-made’ makeup mogul, 22, of spinning ‘a web of lies’ about company figures and ‘forging tax returns’
The controversy has exploded around a $1.2 billion deal for Kylie Cosmetics, in which Kylie sold a 51 percent stake to makeup giant Coty for $600 million in January. At the time, Wall Street suspected Coty may have overpaid for the majority stake. The worries were fueled by new financial disclosures made by the publicly listed company, which revealed earnings for Kylie Cosmetics were far lower than Kylie previously claimed
‘I am SO proud,’ Kylie’s mastermind mother Kris Jenner wrote in an Instagram post in response.
In Forbes’ bombshell article that downgraded Kylie’s net worth from more than $1 billion to just under $900 million, the magazine claimed the family likely showed them tax returns with ‘false numbers’.
‘While we can’t prove that those documents were fake (though it’s likely), it’s clear that Kylie’s camp has been lying,’ the report said.
Handzlik told DailyMail.com the revelations are an obvious target for a potential SEC investigation, and would also likely catch the attention of federal prosecutors.
‘Part of the purpose of investigations and enforcement actions is to deter others. So when a case comes out with a lot of high-profile individuals and a natural attraction to many members of the public, this would be a good way to do it – whether or not it’s warranted in this case,’ he said.
‘In the entertainment and perhaps even the advertising field, exaggeration, puffery if you will, is a time-honored tradition. But here, a private company was sold for a lot of money to a large publicly traded company. That brings a lot more scrutiny.
‘The assertions may sound good if you’re on Instagram or Facebook. But when you move that over into dealing with a publicly traded company, then you cross over into a situation where you might be accused of not just exaggerating, but financial statement fraud.’
The top attorney said if a federal investigation found Kylie had committed financial fraud, she could face jail time and fines of ‘staggering amounts’ to ‘make Coty whole again’ in the $1.2 billion deal.
‘We don’t know if there’s something here that doesn’t meet the eye. But taking the allegations at face value, there is certainly a basis to conduct an investigation and maybe move ahead with an enforcement action or a criminal prosecution,’ he said.
‘If it results in a formal investigation and that formal investigation does arrive at the conclusion that there was a financial statement fraud or other aspects, the tools that the SEC has are pretty powerful.
‘In fact if the court rules that the Jenners or Jenner companies have received ill-gotten gains, profited from a financial statement fraud or financial misdeed, then these rather staggering sums of money that were paid or distributed within the Jenner orbit, the SEC could order those be returned. In other words they would seek to make Coty whole again.’
Handzlik has been ranked one of top 100 lawyers in California according to leading law publication The Daily Journal, and is known for defending high-profile financial fraud cases with big-ticket clients.
He has represented Steven Seagal, Girls Gone Wild owner/producer Joe Francis and other celebrities, as well as multinational firms in landmark cases.