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Should you invest in Oatly like Oprah?
The oat-milk maker is one of 6 companies backed by celebrity investors that may be worth a look.
Retail investors aren’t the only ones looking for the next hot initial public offering (IPO) — celebrities also want to grow their wealth and slap their name on the brightest, shiniest startups. Should you invest in Oatly alongside Oprah and Jay-Z? Well, hold up — because Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company might be a better fit for your portfolio.
Here are six celebrity-backed companies and how they’ve performed.
Oatly, backed by Oprah Winfrey
Oatly crowns our list of celebrity-backed companies for two reasons. First, Oatly is set to go public on May 20, which makes it topical. And second: well, Oprah’s involved. Oprah.
Oatly is a Swedish producer of oat-based alternative dairy products. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because you might have overheard it on your last Starbucks run: Two of the coffee chain’s newest bevvies — the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso and Honey Oatmilk Latte — are made using Oatly products.
Oprah Winfrey bought into the company last July after a $200 million funding round that valued the company at $2 billion. And as if having Oprah on the card wasn’t enough, the funding round also included other private investors from the Blackstone equity firm, including Jay-Z and Natalie Portman. Hello, star power.
Oatly plans to go public in the US by offering American depositary shares (ADS) at a range of between $15 and $17 per ADS. As far as its performance — well, we can’t say. Because it isn’t public yet.
GameWorks, backed by Steven Spielberg
Here’s another one that’s not public yet but poised to launch — soon? No firm date has been set, but GameWorks did file a draft registration with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the ticker symbol GMWX — and that’s a pretty strong indication that it plans to go public.
This San Fran arcade entertainment company is backed by entertainment icon Steven Spielberg — he’s even quoted on the company website’s About page. And GameWorks is much more than a chain of arcade lounges: Its locations feature fully stocked bars and restaurants, striking at the hybrid arcade-restaurant model popularized by industry competitor, Dave & Buster’s.
GameWorks isn’t available for trade — yet. But you can prepare for its launch by learning more about how to buy GameWorks stock.
The Honest Company, backed by Jessica Alba
We drive firmly out of speculative territory and into the realm of hard data with Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company. And that’s because this stock is available for trade, and we can actually comment on its performance.
But first, a little about The Honest Company: Not only is Hollywood sweetheart Jessica Alba a major investor — she’s also the company’s founder. For proof, look no further than the company’s homepage: It’s strewn with snapshots of the actress.
The Honest Company is a personal care line of clean, sustainable products made by a company that prides itself on its transparency. The Honest Company — get it?
And as for its performance, it debuted on the Nasdaq in early May at $21.22 per share. It hasn’t done particularly well in the intervening weeks, dropping to $14.91 as of May 13, but this stock is so fresh out of the gate that this is hardly an indicative trend.
Is it too early to buy The Honest Company stock? Not necessarily.
The company reports that it saw a 30% increase in sales during the pandemic. Freshly minted stocks are also prone to volatility, so the drop in value may not be cause for concern.
Uber, backed by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
Despite Uber’s widespread popularity, most people are surprised to learn one of the company’s early investors was none other than the Queen B herself, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.
And here’s another fun fact: Beyoncé didn’t “buy in” to Uber so much as she turned herself into an early stakeholder. The A-list artist turned down the $6 million offered for her Las Vegas performance at an Uber corporate event in exchange for company equity.
Did Beyoncé’s SinCity gamble pay off? Well, Uber’s stock went public on the New York Stock Exchange on May 10, 2019 at $41.57 per share. Following its launch, it performed tumultuously — up until the fall of 2020 when its value began to rise.
Whether or not the stock is a buy is for you to figure out. But numerous investors — Beyoncé included — remain hopeful.
Airbnb, backed by Ashton Kutcher
As an active investor, Ashton Kutcher has had his name paired with many brands and companies. But one of his more popular investments came when he bought into Airbnb. And the online vacation marketplace is far from the only investment on Ashton’s rap sheet. He has also invested in Skype, Spotify and Pinterest.
So, how has Ashton’s investment fared? Well, in 2011, he funnelled $2.5 million into Airbnb through his venture capital firm, A-Grade Investments. The stock officially launched on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol ABNB in December 2020. It went live at just shy of $140 per share and rocketed to an impressive high of $212.68 in February 2021.
Since then, the stock has cooled somewhat, now trading closer to its value at launch. Only time will tell how well this company will continue to publicly perform. To invest in Airbnb, you’ll need a brokerage account.
DocuSign, backed by Jared Leto
California-based DocuSign is a software company that helps businesses facilitate electronic agreements.
Have you ever been asked for your digital signature on an electronic document? That’s what DocuSign does. And actor-musician Jared Leto has been publicly tied to the company as an early investor since 2015.
So far, that investment has paid dividends. Figuratively speaking — because DocuSign shares don’t actually pay dividends. But the company’s stock has done well, launching in 2018 at $39.73 per share and steadily climbing in value until March 2020 when shares began to truly soar.
The pandemic was a divisive event: Some industries, like airline and cruise stocks, took a hit. Others, like software companies well-equipped to cater to the massive shift to online work, profited. DocuSign’s stock rocketed to a high of $265 in February 2021 and has since cooled — but it’s still trading well above its value at launch, which is good news for early investors like Jared Leto.
Can DocuSign’s stock success be attributed to its celebrity backers? Not really.
But does this stock’s performance suggest Jared Leto may know a thing or two about how to pick his portfolio holdings? That’s for you to decide.
To buy the Oatly IPO or other stocks in this story, you’ll need a brokerage account.
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