Rihanna’s Wall Street education is well underway.
The multihyphenate entertainer and entrepreneur is exploring the idea of an initial public offering for her booming Savage x Fenty lingerie business, learning about the process through talks to Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
It’s said to be early days still with the company in the “information gathering” phase. Spokespeople for Savage x Fenty, L Catterton and Morgan Stanley did not immediately reply to requests for comment. Goldman Sachs declined comment.
Rihanna is taking a hands-on approach, learning the capital market ropes with her team, a source told WWD of the talks, which were previously reported by Bloomberg.
While Rihanna came up through the music business and has proven to be a fashion industry master, wielding her celebrity and her public appearances to great effect, the capital markets are new territory.
She has some time to learn and has a strong hand to play.
The stock market is a mess right now — with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and ultra high inflation vexing investors — but Savage x Fenty raised money at a nearly $2 billion valuation recently and so could score something like $3 billion in an offering next year, a source estimated.
In the meantime, Rihanna has some very experienced allies to help guide her through the process.
Consumer-focused private equity giant L Catterton, which took a stake in Savage x Fenty last year, is said to have been helping guide Rihanna and her team through the process and making introductions to the right people at the banks. (L Catterton — which counts Birkenstock, Jott, Bliss and many others among its investments — is itself said to be working with Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs for its own IPO.)
Clearly, Rihanna is a quick study and by all accounts is said to be very engaged with her business where some other celebrity-led businesses get little direct attention from their famous founders. She would also seem to be a keen multitasker, who is several months pregnant and just hit Paris Fashion Week with her boyfriend A$SP Rocky.
It is not publicly known just how big Savage x Fenty is, but the business is in expansion mode, adding brick-and-mortar stores and successfully welcoming women from a broad set of demographics.
Natalie Guzman, copresident and chief marketing officer of Savage x Fenty, logged into the ICR 2022 investment conference in January — a key stop on the big-money circuit — and touted the brand’s customer base.
“Primarily, it’s been women who are young and very diverse [shopping at the brand],” Guzman said.
The average age of the company’s shoppers is 33 with 65 percent of its customers between 18 and 35. And it’s a diverse group balanced among 35 percent Black shoppers, 30 percent white and 20 percent Latine.
“Although she has a moderate income, we have over 50 percent of her wallet share when it comes to intimates,” Guzman said. “And she’s loving the product. The brand message is really resonating with her. She loves the fit and the content and the imagery that she’s seeing. And she’s also loving the value that we’re offering through our membership pricing.”
The brand has been promoted with a fashion show on Amazon Prime for three years that features a very diverse cast of models, boasting a variety of body shapes, ages and skin tones.
And that is a message clearly resonating, as evidenced by the investors that have converged on the brand, the big valuation and its ability to keep building the business.
Last month sources told WWD that Savage x Fenty was opening a store in downtown Brooklyn, near the Barclays Center, near other hot retailers, including Kith, Target, Adidas, Uniqlo and Apple.
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