Kanye West’s ex-wife Kim Kardashian starts private equity firm with Carlyle partner

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Kim Kardashian is the latest celebrity to try her hand at private equity investing, joining with longtime Carlyle Group Inc. executive Jay Sammons to start a new firm.

Skky Partners will focus on investments in the consumer and media industry, with Kardashian and Sammons serving as co-founders and co-managing partners. Kardashian’s mother, Kris Jenner, will also be a partner at the firm, according to a Skky statement on Wednesday.

The pair will bring to the venture “a long history of investing capabilities and experience of working with high-growth brands that are disruptors,” Sammons said in an interview.

Reality television star Kardashian is transforming her career after building multibillion-dollar businesses including undergarment company Skims, which this year raised funds at a valuation of more than US$3 billion.

Sammons worked at Carlyle for nearly 17 years, and was associated with investments including Beats by Dre, skincare company Philosophy and Beautycounter.

Sammons, who was global head of consumer, media and retail at Carlyle before leaving this year, met Kardashian through a mutual friend in 2016, Sammons said. The two kept in touch as business and personal contacts. The former Carlyle partner approached Kardashian earlier this year to start a new venture.

“Kim has started two businesses that sophisticated investors have valued over US$1 billion,” Sammons said, referring to Skims and her KKW Beauty brand, which sold a stake to Coty Inc. in 2020. “She’s an incredibly accomplished entrepreneur and investor.”

Women comprised 12.7 per cent of all senior employees at private equity firms in North America as of 2021, according to a May report by Preqin and McKinsey & Co. A Fairview Capital report found that the number of women- and minority-owned private equity firms grew 25 per cent from 2020 to 2021. Those 627 firms targeted 6 per cent of the capital raised last year.