Did 50 Cent really make $400 million in one day?
The first time it was mentioned to me that 50 Cent profited $400 million from the sale of Glaceau to Coca-Cola the other day, I consulted Google to see if the shit really happened. I turned up a buncha reports on Coca-Cola purchasing Glaceau for $4.1 billion, but the only news organization reporting that 50 Cent personally made off with $400 million from the deal was - you guessed it - motherfucking AllHipHop.com.
Think about it: If a celebrity of 50 Cent's stature really did manage to make make $400 million in one day, don't you think that shit would be all over the news? Back in the late '90s, Alanis Morissette made $30 million in one day from the site MP3.com, and that shit was reported all over the place. So what's the difference here - other than the fact that Alanis Morissette has several songs that Bol likes?
Do I mean to suggest that this is definitely all a buncha bullshit, that some d-bag told AllHipHop that 50 Cent made $400 million in one day, and they just printed the shit without bothering to confirm it with Glaceau or Coca-Cola? Not necessarily. It could be the case that, despite its constant, epic struggles with the English language (is the site written by a room full of Chinese immigrants?), AllHipHop really does employ some of the world's most capable business journalists.
So I checked again this morning to see if any other news organizations were reporting the $400 million figure and, alas, a few of them were. The thing is pretty much all of them were either citing AllHipHop as a source, or not bothering to cite any source at all, which I of course took to mean that they got the number from AllHipHop and/or one of any number of other sites that essentially reprinted their story.
At least one site, Playahata.com, attempted to contact Glaceau's corporate headquarters to have them confirm that Fiddy indeed owned a 10% stake in the company, and hence profited $400 million from the recent sale to Coca-Cola, but they wouldn't confirm one way or the other whether or not 50 Cent even owned any stake in Glaceau, citing a company policy not to reveal any information about its investors to the press.
On the Glaceau website, Fiddy is only listed as a "friend" of the company along with various other black people such as Donovan McNabb, Tracy McGrady, Allen McIverson, and Gilbert Arenas, all of whom have endorsed Vitamin Water at one point in time or another; which would lead me to believe that Fiddy's own relationship with Glaceau may be more along the lines of your typical celebrity endorsement deal rather than a genuine, significant stake in the company.
Finally, if all that wasn't proof enough that 50 Cent probably didn't make $400 million in one day, Media Take Out recently caught up with an investment banker who claims to be familiar with the transaction, and he claims 50 Cent was never a significant investor in Glaceau. In fact, he claims that Fiddy's deal with them was more along the lines of, say, Damon Dash's deal with Pro Keds or some shit. (And look at how well he's doing these days!)
As the banker explained in an interview:
"50 Cent has a licensing agreement with Energy Brands which pays him a set fee and gives him a percentage of the sales from Formula 50 [The flavor specifically designed by 50]. He does not own a significant interest in the company ... The 10% number you hear is pure fiction."
Granted Media Take Out is known to make this sort of shit up out of whole cloth. But even if they did, at least they bothered to make up a reputable-sounding quote. The truth of the matter is that we'll probably never know exactly how much money Fiddy made from his Vitamin Water deal. Shit, Fiddy himself might not even know. But whatever it was, I seriously doubt it was anywhere in the neighborhood of the amount suggested by sites like AllHipHop.com