We knew 50 Cent was a good businessman with all his records, concerts and all that Vitamin Water. Yes, he's worth tens, maybe hundreds, of millions of dollars. But, we didn't know just how incredibly savvy he was when it came to mixing in a dose of technology with his business acumen.
We first interviewed "Fiddy" at CES, when when he was unveiling a new line of headphones called "Sleek by 50." They sound great, look stylish, and, along with Dr. Dre and Lady Gaga, help 50 show that he's part of a growing number of well-known entertainers bringing what was previously only available to high-end studio types down to us, the mp3-listening consumer.
Here's where it gets interesting: Turns out 50 has also been using his Twitter account to reel in investors. As we talked about in our interview with him, 50 didn't just endorse "Sleek," he owns a part of the company Sleek Audio.
It's kind of cool. He's not just pitching the headphones, he's got a financial stake in the company making them. He told us it makes Sleek (and its headphones) more than just a client he endorses, it's something he owns.
But Sleek is partially owned by a company called TV Goods, whose parent company is called HNHI. HNHI is publicly traded, but as an over the counter stock.
One that was trading at pennies a share and lost $1.3 million last quarter on revenues of just under $300,000, according to the New York Post.
As 50 Tweeted about investing in HNHI, his followers -- and at last count there were more than 3.8 million of them -- bought shares, too, and the price jumped from pennies, to about 40 cents each. That put millions of dollars, at least on paper, in 50's pocket.
Brilliant move, or shady? Either way, 50's tweets later that day got much more thoughtful about the company, advising his followers to "do ur homework," because "it may not be right for u."
Not sure if any SEC-like pressure was put on the rapper, but it's not illegal to talk up a company in 140 characters or less .. is it?
PopPublica reports so far he has yet to "pump and dump" his stake in the company, which could land him in hot water.