By BA Staff
Rapper, songwriter, record executive, businessman, and record producer, Shawn Corey Carter – professionally known as Jay-Z has sold a 50% stake of his Champagne brand Armand de Brignac, also known as “Ace of Spades” to LVMH, which owns Dom Pérignon and Moët & Chandon.
Although the terms of the deal have not been made public the pact comes at a time when LVMH is seeking to appeal to a more diverse clientele. One of the luxury sector’s Achilles heel has been the longstanding criticism for cultural appropriation and lack of diversity especially in important areas.
LVMH’s seemingly progressive efforts have been overt. Recently it revealed 23-year-old tennis champion Naomi Osaka as its new brand ambassador. During the US open, Osaka was praised for supporting the Black Lives Matter protests that peaked on 6 June 2020, when half a million people turned out in nearly 550 places across the United States. LVHM has since also collaborated with skateboarder Lucien Clark on apparel and a skate shoe. In a culture-shifting move a few years ago it partnered with singer Rihanna on Fenty Fashion House, making her the first Black woman to lead an original brand with LVMH. Fenty Fashion House has been recently canned. But LVMH said it will continue to support other elements of the Fenty empire, concentrating on “the growth and long-term development” of beauty and skincare lines Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin, as well as lingerie line Savage X Fenty, which just raised $115 million to help it expand into retail.
The Armand de Brignac and LVMH deal comes in the wake of a difficult year for Champagne, as sales have plummeted due to cancelled celebrations and restrictions on indoor dining during the Covid-19 pandemic. Shipments of Champagne fell 18% in 2020 compared to 2019, according to CIVC, a Champagne trade group. At LVMH, Champagne volumes fell 19% in 2020, the company said in January.
“LVMH is a brand that has quite a wide appeal. It serves lots of different markets,” noted Neil Saunders, retail industry analyst and managing director of GlobalData. By diversifying its marketing efforts and expanding its portfolio, it can help reach “audiences that are very important, but perhaps have been traditionally underrepresented in luxury,” he told CNN News. The partnership with Jay-Z “certainly helps as part of that effort.”
Young Hov, as Jay-Z is affectionally known amongst his aficionados , has long had an interest in bubbles. He was big on Cristal until a boycott of the brand in 2006 after the head of the company that makes that Champagne, Frederic Rouzaud, made disparaging remarks about its popularity in the hip-hop community. “What can we do? We can’t forbid people from buying it,” Rouzaud intimated to The Economist at the time.
Following this Hov turned his attention to Armand de Brignac. He featured the signature “Ace of Spades” bottle in a 2006 music video and acquired the brand in 2014. Jigga remained true to his words and has since never promoted Christal in any way, shape, or form.
“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,” said Philippe Schaus, president and CEO of Moet Hennessy, in a 22 February 2021 press release. “Armand de Brignac breaks barriers and reflects contemporary luxury.”
This LVMH is a major business move and comes in the wake of Jigga investing the cannabis business to bolster Black participation in the industry. Word up.
LVMH’s distribution strength and experience developing luxury brands “will give Armand de Brignac the commercial power it needs to grow and flourish even further,” said Jay-Z in a statement on Monday.
About Christal, in 2006, Hov stated:
“It has come to my attention that the managing director of Cristal, Frédéric Rouzaud, views the “hip-hop” culture as “unwelcome attention”’. ‘I view his comments as racist and will no longer support any of his products through any of my various brands, including the 40/40 Club, nor in my personal life.“