Dan Charnas Reexamines 50 Cent's $400 Million Deal

Did 50 really get $400 million from Vitamin Water? Dan Charnas of "The Big Payback" goes behind the numbers to investigate.

Even as he suffered from the same declining album sales plaguing almost every other recording artist, 50 Cent’s income from his various other endorsements ensured that he was among the game’s top earners. By most accounts, the most lucrative of those endorsements was a stake in Glaceau, which reportedly netted 50 close to $400 million when Coca-Cola purchased the company.

“In the media, initial reports put 50 Cent’s cashout at $400 million, calculated by dividing the purchase amount by 50 Cent’s reputed 10 percent share,” Author Dan Charnas writes. “But in reality, 50 Cent’s take was much less. Another stakeholder needed to be paid off first—the diversified Indian conglomerate Tata had invested $677 million for 30 percent of Glaceau in 2006, and got $1.2 billion when Coca-Cola bought them out.”

Charnas recently revisited 50’s Vitamin Water deal as a part of his book The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip Hop. According to Charnas, the key move in 50 Cent and manager Chris Lighty’s strategy was making 50 Cent’s signature Vitamin Water flavor resemble the cheap “quarter water” liquor store and bodega bottles. That move made the choice of grape as the flavor for Formula 50 a calculated risk. And while Charnas’ math would mean 50 Cent didn’t necessarily pocket $400 million from the Coca-Cola buyout, his cut of the deal still wasn’t too shabby.

“When all the other costs had been deducted, 50 Cent was thought to have walked away with a figure somewhere between $60 million and $100 million, putting his net worth at nearly a half billion dollars.”


  • M. S. Nair

    This article is a direct word to word copy from a New York Post article. i don't see any credits issued to NYP. Omar Burgess needs to learn the basic ethics of journalism. You do not plagiarize. but then again, what do you expect from a rap site.

  • Heat357

    Forbes said he made a little over 100,000,000.. They're like the billboard of salaries... People who are interested this tyoe sh!t should check out Legends of Silcon Valley... Its the Bill Gates story.. Its interesting as hell...

  • killermk

    It doesn't matter how much Curtis Jackson got paid on the deal. what matters is, how much are you getting paid for hating on other ppl's success..Absolutely Nothing dum ass. hahahaha!!!

  • Triune

    400 mill or 100 mill, who gives a damn. He got way more money than anyone on this message board. As well, to assume that Fif ain't make no bread on his G Unit brands is plain stupid and ignorant. Fif himself said hat "In Da Club" by itself bought the house he has in Conneticut. I remember back in 03 ppl reporting that he made like 60 mill that year alone, not to mention the next 4 years he was on fire. It is very well possible that he's worth 400-500 mill. Ppl hate to put him in that Puff, Russel, and Jay space but you have to. Hate his music or not, the dude gets his bread. Lastly, with this movie deal, he only has to have a couple movies pop off on ome crazy stuff and he's close to a billi.

  • Tom Keiswetter

    o he only got like 100 mil....what a loser

  • jjyo

    ^^^ Lmfao I know right lmfao

  • J

    50 is doin' water deals because his music is lame. I guess I support him for doing that since the water tastes OK

  • Roll

    This is the hottest mixtape out by Bravo Zulu http://www.datpiff.com/Bravo_Zulu_Shooting_Star.m152009.html

  • illness

    only 60 mil!? shit...that nigga broke as a joke...

    • Tom Keiswetter

      hes kidding jyo you dumbass

    • Jyo

      top 1 %??? I highly doubt anybody in the music industry would fall under that category no matter there position...if ur talking about 1% then we must b talking about wal-mart, mccdonalds, Microsoft, bp, exxon, etc... Plus if u search on utube there's a video where eminem is saying he didnt profit off gunit he left 50 have that to da face...check ur facts b4 u comment, if not u sound like a hater


    Whether it was $400 mil or $60 mil...still good money and more than he would make from the music anyway. This was an awesome investment opportunity for 50, while most dummies in the industry want to by a bunch of cars and ice...People really need to kill the hate toward fif...he doing numbers and making sure he establishes generational wealth. Too bad some of you won't understand that and continue your ride on the hate bandwagon..fif laughing to the bank on you suckas!

  • beezlebud

    WTF does 50s earnings have to do with Don Charnas bitch ass, seriously this is what dudes spendin his life doin actin like a lil ho investigating another mans earnings that shits pathetic

  • Anonymous


    • Anonymous

      I take ja rule over 50 any day

    • unknown

      yo illness...u sayin 50 aint got music worth downloading for u but yet here you are commenting on his article...now u sound lyk ja rule bitch get the fuk outta here hater!!

    • illness

      nigga you sound like this might BE 50 cent...fuck you if so nigga and drop something worth downloading...fuck buying, you will never be that hot again, just drop a little jewel thats worth my 60 seconds of time it takes to download aight


    This is y the journalisms field as a whole is dead. A 10 year old could dig up more facts with just google. Simple math would've told u he didn't get 400 mil to begin with. That 10% he had was with a group, so the rest had to get paid as well. As far as being worth half a bil, it's not even close. Dre and Em got just as much off everything gunit as 50 did. Not to mention his empire is crumbling and empires lose money when the falling

    • Anonymous

      another dumb dick rider. he signed 200 mil PRODUCTION deal, which means he he has that amount of moeny to produce his movies with. i dont know if stans are illiterate or just dyslexic, they just hear numbers and lose all common sense

    • Christopher Carter

      So I guess that him just signing a $200 Million movie deal, His new headphones and sunglasses coming out is a sign that his empire is falling! Lol

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    "walked away with a figure somewhere between $60 million and $100 million, putting his net worth at nearly a half billion dollars.” if you get $100 million from a deal the only way your net worth would be half a billion is you were already worth approximately $400 million and before that deal 50 was no where near 400 million. secondly, i'm not a big stock guy but i do know what your stock is worth is not necessarily what you have in hand and what your allowed to spend. so even if the stock was worth 400 mil didn't mean he could spend that at any given time.

    • Beezlebud

      50 signed himself to shady Em didn't get squat for the gunit records releases they where all 50s pay days he's worth easily as much as puffy n jay n he's been grindin half the length of time and Jay n Puffy are only worth 500mill MAX that's rich but NOT WEALTHY

    • Mic Check

      No playeR, it goes deeper than that. The music industry is a pyramid scheme and 50 didn't clean house, Jimmy Iovine-Dr.Dre then Emimnem cleaned house. 50 is signed under them and he got to pay up. He signed a million dollar contract. What? You think they gave him 50% of his masters as well? GRDT, The Massacre and so on so forth go to those top three names I gave you before he even see's a penny. So does a percentage G-Unit subsidiaries. Its deeper than rap (lol). Thats why 50 lashing out and mad now. He overplayed his hand. He thought that he would be selling like his first two albums, therefore when his five album deal was up (since Jimmy and Dre wasn't budging in renegotiating his deal after the Massacre and which is early interviews he can be heard talking slick about Dre)he would get a super contract like the Whitney's and the Mariah's of the world. Then Curtis came. The BISD. No more power. This is why Black Magic to him is his final hope. The perception is that he is worth half a billion...not even close. Oh my bloggers, it gets alot deeper, but let me cut it off with this. 50 is rich. Diddy, Jay-Z, P. Miller,Dre are wealthy. Iovine is top 1%.

    • casper21

      it goes deeper than that. Remember all Gunit's records came out on that label, which is 50's, so he got paid of banks' double platinum, bucks platinum, game's 5 million worldwide, the first group record, he cleaned house off his own records and those of the group.

    • t

      He was bought out so they did pay him. Net worth means the value of the total assets (company's, property's, etc...). It doesn't mean how much money someone has it's more like an estimate. Also, keep in mind his first album went over diamond.

  • jm

    I dont get it.... why does the fact that Tata got $1.2 billion mean 50 didnt get $400 million? 4 billion * 30% = 1.2 billion 4 billion * 10% = 400 million simple math.....

    • casper21

      a lot of expenses in that business, but primarily the taxes he had to pay were major.

    • W. J. Rice

      Doesn't quite work like that. There's no reason for me to type it out. If you think about it for a bit, you'll get it. In the end, there's no mathematical way he took home $400 million. Just doesn't work that way.


    it dont matter how the picture was painted he got paid

  • Charles ExSavior

    That sounds more accurate. Even I knew the initial numbers were greatly exaggerated.

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