For American music mogul Jay-Z, who has boasted of having a “million ways to make money” it looks like it may now be “on to the next one”.
French luxury giant LVMH has purchased a 50% stake in his Armand de Brignac champagne brand, known to fans of his music by its “Ace of Spades” nickname.
Branded with an ace of spades and sleek metallic bottles, the drink can cost hundreds of pounds a bottle or more.
The rapper, whose given name is Shawn Carter, has owned the brand since 2014.
Made at a French winemaking house with roots in the 1600s, Armand de Brignac has been the bubbly of choice for some sports championship celebrations in the US and won accolades at international taste testing competitions.
The brand sold 900,000 bottles in 2019, before the pandemic hit champagne sales.
Power to grow
In announcing the deal, Jay-Z said the partnership with LVMH, which owns other established champagne names such as Dom Perignon and Veuve Cliquot, would help the brand grow.
“We are confident that the sheer power of the Moët Hennessy global distribution framework, its unparalleled portfolio strength and its long-established track record of excellence in developing luxury brands will give Armand de Brignac the commercial power it needs to grow and flourish even further,” he said.
Financial details of the deal have not been not disclosed. Historic luxury houses have been on the hunt for ways to appeal to younger customers, although some experiments – such as LVMH’s collaboration with singer Rihanna on a fashion line – have foundered.
Phillippe Schaus, president of LVMH’s spirit group Moët Hennessy, said his company had been interested in the brand for its appeal to a “global and diverse luxury consumer”.
“For years we have been following the fantastic success of Armand de Brignac and admiring their ability to challenge some of the rules of the Champagne category,” he said.
“Armand de Brignac breaks barriers and reflects contemporary luxury, while preserving the traditions of the Champagne terroirs.”
Jay-Z, who has been married to singer Beyoncé since 2008, emerged in the 1990s as a star rapper.
He later turned his success into a sprawling business empire that includes investments in record labels, sports teams, clothing brands and alcohol and has made him a billionaire.
His collaboration with Armand de Brignac started in 2006, after a fallout with the owners of Cristal champagne, which was previously his brand of choice. He took full ownership of the Armand de Brignac brand in 2014.
In 2006, He organised a boycott of Cristal after an executive hinted in an interview that he did not like the association between his product and rappers, who had made the drink more popular.