Kylie Jenner stripped of 'billionaire' title after revelations that she 'forged' documents and 'lied' to inflate her net worth

Kylie Jenner stripped of 'billionaire' title after revelations that she 'forged' documents and 'lied' to inflate her net worth

When Kylie Jenner was announced as the youngest "self-made billionaire" last year, people were sceptical.

The majority of people took issue with the use of "self-made", given her hugely privileged background. But unbeknownst to most of us, the folks at Forbes were scratching their chins about the numbers themselves:

Could the youngest member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan really be worth $1bn thanks to a lip kit?

It turns out that the answer is... most likely not.

In an explosive investigation published today, Forbes reporters Chase Peterson-Withorn (whose beat is, delightfully, "billionaires") and Madeline Berg ("media") have unravelled the strange tale of Jenner's finances and determined that not only is she no longer a billionaire, but she likely never was.

The story reveals that back in 2016, Jenner's representatives worked very hard to convince Forbes that in the first 18 months of Kylie Cosmetics, the business's revenue was around $400m.

Despite providing documentation to back up their claim, Forbes wasn't convinced, and didn't use those figures. They were later reported by fashion trade publication WWD, from where it spread like wildfire across mainstream media outlets. Forbes now believes the tax returns that stated these figures were forged.

The "billionaire" title came in 2019, when it was announced that Coty, a beauty conglomerate which owned around 77 brands including Rimmel, MaxFactor and Wella, was buying 51 per cent of Kylie Cosmetics for $600m, effectively valuing the business at about $1.2bn.

Forbes reports that Coty claimed the acquisition would help modernise the company, leading analysts to question whether it had overpaid for the company, basing its valuation more on the clout of the name than the actual profits of the company.

This is where the original documents Forbes was shown became even less plausible: according to figures provided by Coty, Kylie Cosmetic's revenue in 2017-18 was around $125m – a dramatic drop from the self-reported figure to $330m in 2017 and $307m in 2016, which was supposedly corroberated by the aforementioned documents.

All of this is to say: there appears to be a piece of the puzzle missing.

The article acknowledges the possibility that sales massively dropped during that time period, but that would have made the Coty deal even more bizarre – why would they buy a "high growth" company that's actually almost halved its sales?

Forbes concludes that:

More likely: The business was never that big to begin with, and the Jenners have lied about it every year since 2016—including having their accountant draft tax returns with false numbers—to help juice Forbes' estimates of Kylie’s earnings and net worth.

While we can’t prove that those documents were fake (though it’s likely), it’s clear that Kylie’s camp has been lying.

Wait, so, she was never a billionaire, self-made or otherwise?

It would seem not. Forbes revised its estimate and now reports Jenner is likely worth just under $900m at a maximum, given Kylie Cosmetics' share price has fallen by 60 per cent since the sale went through, and we have yet to see the effects the pandemic is currently having on its sales.

However, Jenner has since popped over to Twitter to offer a somewhat vague denial which we can safely assume is in reference to the Forbes story, saying she "thought it was a reputable site" and claiming there were "inaccurate statements" (although she doesn't specify what she's referring to).

She goes on to suggest the allegations of forgery are false, asking for "proof", which Forbes acknowledged it does not have.

And then followed up with a handful of tweets about how the amount of money she has doesn't matter to her... which must be a nice feeling for someone with hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank.

Does it matter?

Perhaps not. If there's one thing the Kardashian-Jenners have proven it's that they have a loyal fanbase and are incredibly savvy when it comes to monetising their popularity.

But it also seems their ego and desire to be perceived as pop-culture royalty could cost them...

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