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50 Cent

Die rich or die tryin. 50 Cent (real name Curtis Jackson) became one of the world’s wealthiest rappers after Coca-Cola bought the Vitaminwater brand he invested in for $4.1bn.

In the early 2000s, the teetotal rapper – best known for the monster hit In da Club – decided he wanted to get into the enhanced-water business and had a meeting with soft drink manufacturer Glacéau. The company pitched its Vitaminwater brand and 50 Cent noticed they didn’t have a grape flavour – his favourite. So he put up some seed money to develop his Formula 50 Vitaminwater grape flavour in exchange for a 10 per cent stake in the company.

However, Glacéau made it clear that there would be a tight deadline on signing the deal. Fiddy had until midnight to sign the contract or the deal was off. Because 50 Cent was performing on stage, his friend James Cruz had to run into the venue parking lot, grab the contract off a Glacéau executive, run backstage to get the rapper to sign it, and then hand it back over. Just in the nick of time.

Having made an estimated $60-100m from his share of Vitaminwater in the Coca-Cola deal, putting his net worth at a reported half a billion dollars, bizarrely 50 Cent was declared bankrupt in 2015.

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Tim Adler

Tim Adler is group editor of Small Business, Growth Business and Information Age. He is a former commissioning editor at the Daily Telegraph, who has written for the Financial Times, The Times and the...

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