Secrets of Sean Diddy Combs’ Billionaire Boys Club

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Lydia Moynihan

Famous

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Sean “Diddy” Combs aggressively marketed himself to the ultra-rich while parlaying his daring rap glamor into a billion-dollar fortune.

Billionaires told The Post that he emailed business pitches, while other Wall Streeters hailed him as a “genius” and a New York Stock Exchange CEO called him an “inspiration” on par with the Fathers. Founders.

But after federal investigators raided his homes in Los Angeles and Miami as part of what law enforcement sources told The Post is a sex trafficking investigation led by the Southern District of New York, his career as a businessman and investor is in jeopardy. . Diddy has denied any wrongdoing and called the investigation “a witch hunt.”

Diddy’s relationship with billionaire Ron Burkle appears to be his longest business relationship. In 2015, Diddy teamed up again with Burkle and Mark Wahlberg to purchase the water company AquaHydrate. Johnny Nunez/WireImage.com

Diddy was the first declared billionaire by hip-hop wealth expert Zack O’Malley Greenburg in 2022, but had coveted the status for years, counting Forbes in 1999“I wanted to be very, very rich.”

Along the way he acquired a Rolodex full of boldface names: He partnered with billionaire investor Ron Burkle; he was “mentored” by hedge fund guru Ray Dalio; sold his fashion line at Macy’s and Dillards; went into business with alcohol giant Diageo; opened the New York Stock Exchange with Estée Lauder heir William Lauder; closed deals with Zac Posen and Liz Claiborne; 50% of him owned his own Revolt television channel; launched a water range with Mark Wahlberg; and partnered with Salesforce’s Marc Benioff to launch a Black business marketplace.

In 2003, he emailed then-Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban asking him to design the NBA team’s uniforms, Cuban told The Post. They had never met, so the cold email was a bold move.

For Diddy, it was a safe bet to associate his new clothing brand, Sean John, with a professional sports team.

While Diddy took credit for the design, it was actually his lead designer who created it and Diddy approved it, Cuban said.

Diddy asked to design the Dallas Mavericks’ uniforms in 2003, ensuring his Sean John apparel logo a spot on an NBA team, and with it respectability and television exposure. AP

“We were an up-and-coming team at a time when professional sports teams weren’t doing anything with people in the entertainment industry,” Cuban said.

“We never even met… we never followed up or anything beyond that,” Cuban said.

For Diddy, who had gone to Howard University to study business, a single deal with an NBA team gave him credibility that he parlayed into even bigger deals.

But it was a two-way street: Diddy also used his own cache (the promise of entering a world of celebrities) to attract investment for his projects.

The same year as his deal with the Mavericks, Diddy landed Burkle, a serial investor worth an estimated $2.9 billion. according to Forbesto inject $100 million into its Sean John fashion range.

Michael Jackson (left), Diddy (center), and Burkle (right) attended an MTV party together in 2003. Burkle purchased Jackson’s Neverland ranch for $22 million in 2020.

It would become Diddy’s longest relationship with Wall Street. Once finished, they partied with Michael Jackson, while Sean John became a regular at Macy’s and Dillards stores.

The following year, the rapper teamed up with Estée Lauder to create multiple fragrances, including one called “Unforgivable.”

The move gave him instant social cache. It allowed him to rub shoulders, lucratively, with a New York social dynasty and, in turn, gave his decades-old brand a fresh, contemporary glamor associated not only with rap music, but also with his White Parties in the Hamptons. full of celebrities.

The company was delighted with the partnership and chief operating officer William Lauder said Diddy was a “man who has earned a phenomenal reputation as a trendsetter in music, fashion and business.”

Diddy was honored by the Lauder family for their agreement with him, including (from left), longtime company executive John Demsey, chairman emeritus Leonard Lauder and heiress Aerin, board member Jane and CEO William Lauder. WireImage for MAC cosmetics
Diddy filmed a perfume commercial for Estée Lauder in Saint-Tropez. ©2006 RAMEY PHOTO 310-828-3445

The Lauder and Macy’s deals were struck when Diddy rang the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange in 2003, a sign of his power and influence.

Analysts said Diddy was one of the first celebrities to essentially license his name to brands, and companies were able to take advantage of that to reach a more diverse group of customers.

In 2007, he was approached by alcohol giant Diageo to become a brand spokesperson for their Cîroc vodka.

But he responded by proposing to become brand manager and marketing director in exchange for a 50% share of the profits, and even had the composite business cards for his new role before the deal was closed.

Diddy announced his partnership with Diageo for his Cîroc brand in 2007 at a press conference, after cheekily printing business cards for his new title before sealing the deal. fake images
The rapper was sure to make Cîroc part of his lifestyle, a win-win for Diageo and Diddy over the years. He no longer has any part of the business. Mr. O / Splash News

The vodka brand agreed. He didn’t miss any opportunity to promote it: the deal paid him almost a billion dollars over the next 15 years and turned Cîroc into a hugely successful brand.

The shrewd negotiations led many in Hollywood to respect Diddy’s acumen. “He was a master entrepreneur,” a music business expert told The Post, who said the rapper was widely respected in Hollywood as a businessman.

“He was a super smart, hard-working guy and a genius at branding…he turned Cîroc into a billion-dollar business.”

When he rang the bell of the New York Stock Exchange in 2016 as a representative of Cîroc, then president of the New York Stock Exchange Tom Farley said Diddy was “an inspiration” for him and similar to the Founding Fathers since they were both scammers.

The comments were written by Diddy’s own news website, Revolt, which often reported favorably on its co-founder.

Cîroc was once again the name behind Diddy when he and French Montana rang the closing bell for New York State on August 30, 2016. fake images
After standing next to Diddy to ring the closing bell, then-NYSE President Tom Farley (right) said Diddy was an inspiration and on par with the Founding Fathers. fake images

But the relationship with Diageo ended in rancor in 2023, when Diddy accused the multinational of racism; The case was settled in January and Diageo is now the sole owner of Cîroc and DeLeón tequila.

In 2015, Diddy teamed up again with Burkle, as well as boyband heartthrob-turned-movie star Mark Wahlberg, to purchase the now-defunct water company AquaHydrate.

Once again, Diddy promoted it vigorously, appearing on both coasts with Wahlberg.

At least on paper, Burkle had the longest relationship with Diddy of all his business partners. He has not commented on the allegations against Diddy.

Earlier this year, Burkle, who was once a close friend of former President Bill Clinton, was linked to another alleged sex trafficker when he appeared in an unsealed court filing that named people associated with Epstein. There is no suggestion that Burkle committed any crime.

Burkle and Diddy reached a three-way deal with Mark Wahlberg after purchasing AquaHydrate and aggressively pushing it. Getty Images for more

Diddy also forged a relationship with Dalio, who in addition to founding Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund, He has a personal net worth of $15.4 billionaccording to Forbes, and has become a sought-after guru for his principle of “radical transparency.”

In 2017, at a Forbes gathering for the “100 Greatest Business Minds Alive,” Diddy approached Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio and began peppering him with business questions.

Diddy frequently attended business events. His famous rider included his own brands of drinks and “a young Thai coconut”.

dalio tweeted in 2019 that Diddy “asked me to be his mentor” and posted a slickly produced video of a “recent mentoring session of ours.”

Ray Dalio (right) said Diddy “asked me to be his mentor.” Dalio has applauded Diddy as someone who wants to “help others.” fake images

“He’s a real hero,” Dalio said. “And he wants to be a role model and help others.”

“The greatest joy I have now is helping other people succeed, particularly helping people who can help a lot of people. “Sean Combs, aka @Diddy, is one of those people.” Dalio publishedwhich brought Diddy to 1.3 million followers seeking financial wisdom.

In 2021, Diddy partnered with tech mogul Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, who Forbes estimates its value at $10.5 billion.to launch “SHOP CIRCULATE,” a marketplace for Black-owned businesses.

That same year it launched a similar online marketplace, Empower Global.

Diddy’s most recent multimillion-dollar deal was with Marc Benioff’s SalesForce. Marc Benioff/X

“Creating Black wealth starts with investing in Black-owned businesses and providing entrepreneurs with access to the consumers needed to build sustainable businesses that can thrive,” Combs said.

He said billboard magazine last year that he wants to collaborate with Byron Allen, the television mogul, and billionaire Hollywood director Tyler Perry to create a “black-owned media conglomerate,” although neither of them reached any agreement with him.

After Diddy was accused by his ex Cassie of rape, sex trafficking and domestic violence last November, and settled the lawsuit without admitting his claims, the brands began to distance themselves.

Macy’s, which was still marketing its fashion line, said it would stop selling its products. And 18 companies selling products on Empower They have reportedly left the platform in recent months.


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