March 21st, 2011

Bethenny Frankel Sells the Skinnygirl Margarita Business


This was a bit of a stunner – I didn’t even have a chance to try a bottle of her Skinnygirl Margarita before she sold the brand to Fortune’s Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc.!

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Beam Global gains the instant marketing exposure of Ms. Frankel, who will remain heavily involved in promoting and developing Skinnygirl products under a multiyear agreement. Ms. Frankel co-owned Skinnygirl with liquor-industry veteran David Kanbar, who isn’t staying on. Terms of the sale, which closed last week, couldn’t be learned.

This deal is very similar to the one by Arianna Huffington a few weeks ago when she sold her liberal blog www.huffingtonpost.com for $310 million to AOL. Arianna gets all that cash, and she stays on as their paid spokeswoman and “advisor.” In other words, it’s now “corporate” but with the implication of a real person. But the real person really isn’t calling all the shots anymore.

The first obvious question, with no public answer to be found anywhere, how much cash did Bethenny get for this sale? I seriously doubt she’d unload a fast-growing, profitable business like this just to get it out of her hair so she could write more books. So she likely got some serious bank. My biggest concern is that a couple million dollars now, could be giving up a lot MORE later. Visualize Martha Stewart around say 1988 when she had a couple books under her belt and was starting to get high profile. Had Martha cashed in her chips at that point, she might have given it up for $10 million. Now Martha’s net worth is somewhere just under $1 billion.

I’m very curious to know the reasoning behind this sale. We could all use an extra $20 million (or whatever she probably made) every now and again. But $20 million doesn’t last long in the world of celebrity. My initial thought? Bethenny should have delegated this to a manager and held on to it, building on this brand. If she wants to be the next big thing, she needs to build, not consolidate and downsize.


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Bethenny getting her own talk show?

[Photo by PR Photos]

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  1. @WhiteTrashGal

    I think it was the smart move. Obviously Bethenny’s signature drink was having growing pains, and she looks to me like she’s been struggling with that. The potential is huge, but running an alcohol brand is a full time job, and she said on her show she was already leaving “money on the table.” I saw people complain on twitter many times they couldn’t get her product when they were ready to buy. Also, she’s got her show, her books to promote with touring, and her own celebrity machine to keep up the marketing plan. Not to mention she wants to be a serious wife and mom. She’s old enough to know what kind of time all that takes. Life is short. She chose well. JMO

  2. Lorraine

    Congrats to Bethany, Smart Business! Well deserved,Good for her for being Smart & banking the money i& moving on to the next big thing. Smart Girl, Blessings for her & her lovely family!!

  3. Rob

    My family and I wish her the best –will be buying her drink for Easter holiday and thereafter. Ship to NC please. I live on the border of SC so I can hop over to Fort Mill for it. Save me the 20 miles.

  4. Anonymous

    This is really weird, I saw the OC Housewives in an episode where Gretchen and Alexis were out to lunch and Alexis ordered a “Skinny Girl Margarita” and I think this was before Bethenny had the idea? The reason I ask, is this was an OC episode in where Alexis had to tell the waitress how to make it, Alexis told her you put in soda water instead of the sour mix. The waitress never heard of the drink and their was no mention of Bethenny’s brand or her drink?

    So my question is, who stole this from who? Just wondering, it was kinda of a weird coincidence.

    • Brenda

      Long before Bethanny bottled her SGM, she had already come up with the idea.
      If you watch a previous RHWONY she also tells a waiter how to make one. It was definitely her idea.

  5. Anonymous

    Maybe you should watch the Real Housewives of New York City prior to Alexis’ entrance into the RH of OC. I think that would clear up your confusion.

  6. jaysc

    Brilliant move by Bethenny, in today’s world you have no idea how much steam a new product will have. Talk about being self-made……..Great Job!!!!!

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