Does Madonna-Centered Investment Strategy Have A Prayer?

Jan 11 2008 | 1:00am ET

One U.K.-based firm hopes to turn a hobby into a viable trading strategy, giving investors a real alternative for their alternatives portfolio. Marquee Capital is banking on investing in celebrity memorabilia, specifically that related to the singer Madonna, to drive performance for its one-year-old operation.

The firm, formed by four entrepreneurs, boasts what it calls “the world’s largest collection” of Madonna memorabilia, ranging from outfits she’s worn to a signed American Express card. It also has a collection of items from other celebrities, including Michael Jackson and Elton John.

“As far as we know we’re the world’s first investment vehicle specializing in celebrity memorabilia,” said CEO Chetan Trivedi. “Madonna turns 50 this year and, fan or not, she does represent an opportunity to invest in and we’re going to be holding exhibitions this year globally.”

The firm follows a two-prong strategy: long-term investments spanning at least a decade alongside tactical, event-driven acquisitions. Items once belonging to the likes of Madonna and Marilyn Monroe are held for the long-term, while other memorabilia, such as that of the Jackson 5, are flipped within the six to nine months in connection with events like the group’s proposed reunion tour this year.

“Last year, we bought a chunk of items, including lyrics to the ‘ABC’ song,” said Trivedi. “If they go forward with their reunion, we’re looking to exit from some of our Jackson 5 memorabilia because it would be a good time to do that with all of the media attention.”

Although Trivedi wouldn’t stake his reputation on the authenticity of the firm’s entire portfolio, he said 99.9% of its inventory comes from legitimate sources, such as Sotheby’s auction house.

Marquee, which doesn’t manage a fund, is offering investors a stake in the firm for their capital, which goes directly into purchasing additional memorabilia. The firm is currently in conversation with a “major” venture capital firm based in the Middle East.

Hashit Shah, Manish Khiroya and Waheed Aslam round out the management team at Marquee Capital. The minimum of investment requirement is £10,000 (US$19,000) and the minimum investment period is 10 years.


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