Step aside

Tom Ford enters the fashion billionaire club just as Kanye West is kicked out

The acquisition by Estee Lauder will land Tom Ford on the list of American fashion billionaires
New money
New money
Photo: JP Yim (Getty Images)
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American designer Tom Ford is set to become a billionaire following the sale of his company to beauty giant Estee Lauder.

The deal, which values the company at $2.8 billion, will see Ford’s long-time partner for beauty and fragrance take control of the business, while the brand’s apparel and leather goods side will be handled through a licensing partnership with Ermenegildo Zegna, and its eyewear division in a similar deal with Marcolin.

Forbes puts Ford’s net worth after the deal at $1.2 billion, saying that the designer owned nearly 64% of the company, according to a 2013 filing, and doesn’t appear to have sold any of his stake since then. However, Bloomberg’s estimate is higher, valuing him at $2 billion. 

The achievement is just one of many in the 61-year-old Ford’s career. He started his namesake empire of luxury fashion and beauty in 2006 after serving as the creative director of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Up until recently, he was head of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and he even directed two films that received Academy Award nominations for its stars.

Ford’s initiation into the billionaire’s club comes not long after America’s fashion elite said goodbye to another businessman. Rapper Kanye West, or Ye as he is now known, was booted out of fashion’s richest rankings after his acrimonious split with Adidas. Forbes put the now-nixed Yeezy deal at $1.5 billion and estimates that West’s wealth has shrunk to $400 million from around $2 billion previously.

Gap, Balenciaga, Footlocker, TJMaxx, and The Real Real were among the more than a dozen companies that ended business dealings with West given his inflammatory behavior, which included sending out “White Lives Matter” shirts in his latest runway show for Yeezy and making anti-Semitic comments on Twitter.