Home » How Jay-Z made his money: Four deals that propelled his net worth to $2.5 billion

How Jay-Z made his money: Four deals that propelled his net worth to $2.5 billion

by Omokolade Ajayi

Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, an African-American rapper-turned-business-mogul, has solidified his position as one of the wealthiest Black individuals globally, primarily due to his billion-dollar fortune derived from his profitable liquor enterprises.

Despite his remarkable career as a top musician and one of the greatest rappers of all time, Jay-Z amassed his $2.5-billion wealth from diverse business ventures, notably by divesting some of his fashion, liquor, music, and technology businesses.

His most illustrious investments include stakes in his champagne empire, Armand de Brignac, popularly known as the “Ace of Spades,” and his interest in D’Usse, a high-end cognac brand. 

Furthermore, his wide-ranging portfolio includes stakes in Uber and Block, equity interest in Square, a U.S. mobile payments company established by Twitter Founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey, and stakes in venture capital firm Marcy Venture Partners, named after the housing project where he grew up.

As hip-hop’s pioneering billionaire, below is a breakdown of four business deals that propelled his net worth to the $2.5-billion mark.

#1 Sale of urban clothing brand, Rocawear to Iconix — $204 million 

In March 2007, Jay-Z received a considerable windfall when he divested the rights to his urban clothing brand, Rocawear, to Iconix Brand Group for a whopping $204 million.

The brand, which he co-founded in 1999 with Damon Dash, offers clothing and accessories for men, women, and children. The sale of Rocawear came two years after Jay-Z acquired Dash’s stake in the company.

Post the transaction, Jay-Z retained ownership interests in the venture and continued to lead its marketing, licensing, and product development efforts.

#2 Sale of a 50-percent stake in Armand de Brignac to LVMH — $300 million

Jay-Z enjoyed a staggering $300 million payday in February 2021, following the sale of a 50-percent stake in his Champagne empire, Armand de Brignac, popularly referred to as the “Ace of Spades,” to French luxury goods conglomerate, Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH). 

The deal, which valued Armand de Brignac at approximately $600 million, not only triggered a substantial increase in his net worth but also established a 50-50 ownership structure between the African-American billionaire and LVMH.

This structure is crucial to the partnership’s success, as it ensures the equitable terms, strengths, and expertise of both parties towards the sustained growth of the brand.

#3 Sale of music streaming platform, Tidal to Square — $350 million

After divesting a 50-percent stake in Armand de Brignac, Jay-Z received a cash and stock compensation of $297 million from Square, a renowned U.S.-based mobile payments firm founded by Jack Dorsey, in exchange for a controlling interest in his music streaming platform, Tidal.

This monumental deal valued at $350 million, granted Square 80-percent ownership of Tidal, in addition to licensing arrangements with major record labels.

The transaction stands out as one of the most significant business turnarounds of this century, considering that Jay-Z launched Tidal in 2015 for $56 million in conjunction with other artists such as Rihanna, J. Cole, Madonna, and many more.

#4 Sale of a 50-percent stake in cognac label, D’Usse, to Bacardi — $750 million

In March 2023, Jay-Z made another lucrative deal by selling a 50-percent stake in D’Usse, his high-end cognac label, to Bacardi Limited, one of the largest privately owned spirits companies worldwide.

While the financial specifics of the transaction remain undisclosed, insiders have claimed that the stake’s value could surpass $750 million.

This sale is the latest addition to his business portfolio, as Jay-Z had previously valued D’Usse at $3 billion, suggesting that his 50-percent stake was worth $1.5 billion.

With this latest move, his net worth surged from $1.3 billion to $2.5 billion at the time of publication.

Furthermore, the sale led to Jay-Z becoming a minority shareholder in D’Usse, allowing him to maintain some degree of influence over the brand.

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