Juul Cofounders Are No Longer Billionaires

With a new report that one of Juul’s investors slashed the company’s valuation by more than a third, Juul cofounders Adam Bowen and James Monsees are losing their short-lived billionaire status as their net worth drops.

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Juul Cofounders
Juul Cofounders

Topline: With a new report that one of Juul’s investors slashed the company’s valuation by more than a third, Juul cofounders Adam Bowen and James Monsees are losing their short-lived billionaire status as their net worth drops.

  • One of Juul’s investors, hedge fund Darsana Capital Partners, recently wrote down its investment in the e-cigarette company by more than a third, slashing Juul’s valuation to $24 billion—down from $38 billion earlier this year, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Darsana Capital declined multiple requests for comment.
  • Based on the investor write-down and the falling valuation, Juul cofounders Adam Bowen and James Monsees—who each own an estimated 1.75% stake in the company—are no longer billionaires. Forbes estimates each cofounder is now worth $900 million.
  • In July 2018, Juul raised $650 million in a fundraising round that valued the fast-growing startup at around $15 billion. The price per share in that round was 56 times the 2015 price, according to the Wall Street Journal, implying that Juul was valued at less than $300 million three years earlier.
  • Tobacco giant Altria paid nearly $13 billion for a 35% stake in Juul last December, boosting the valuation to $38 billion. The deal turned Bowen and Monsees into  billionaires, with each of their net worths rising to more than $1.1 billion.
  • Since the FDA launched an investigation into vaping-related illnesses in April, Altria’s stock has lost almost a third of its market value—over $30 billion. Shares are down just over 17% so far this year.

Key background: Juul has faced an increasing headwinds over the past few months. Federal regulators have increasingly cracked down on e-cigarette products, as a rising number of vaping-related illnesses and deaths continue to alarm the public. The FDA is considering a proposed ban on flavored vapes—which reportedly make up more than 80% of Juul’s domestic sales and would greatly hurt its business. Several government agencies and state attorneys are investigating Juul’s marketing practices, and Juul CEO Kevin Burnes resigned last week in the face of a mounting backlash against the company.

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