Iconix will pay American Greetings $105 million in cash for Strawberry Shortcake, in a deal that is expected to close in the next 30-45 days.
"The entertainment sector is an exciting area of growth for our company," says Neil Cole, chairman and chief executive officer, Iconix Brand Group. "Through our Peanuts brand, we have a strong worldwide platform that we believe we can leverage as we add new entertainment properties to our portfolio. With the acquisition of Strawberry Shortcake, we will be expanding this platform as we gain new partnerships with top entertainment companies around the world."
Strawberry Shortcake made her debut 35 years ago, and today is global brand with a diversified network of more than 350 licensees. Approximately 50 percent of total sales for the brand come from international markets, the largest of which are Brazil and
"We are excited to be expanding the Iconix entertainment platform with such an iconic brand that resonates across multiple generations from daughters to mothers to grandmothers," says Leigh Anne Brodsky, managing director, Iconix Entertainment. "We see many opportunities to grow this brand worldwide, and believe Strawberry Shortcake has a fresh fashion appeal that can play to both classic and modern tastes, with a built in play pattern thats makes it great for physical and digital toys and games."
At the same time, Iconix has also teamed up with Anthony L&S Athletics to acquire the North American rights to the athletic brand Pony for $37 million in cash from Symphony Holdings.
The brand will be purchased through a newly formed subsidiary that will be owned 75 percent by Iconix and 25 percent by AL&S. In exchange for its 25 percent interest in the partnership, AL&S contributed its previously held perpetual rights to the Pony brand in the U.S. and Canada and will be the core footwear licensee for the brand going forward.
Once the deal has closed, Iconix will also have the option to expand its global ownership of the brand and acquire Pony assets in additional territories.
Formed in 1972 in New York City, Pony footwear has appeared on FIFA, NBA, NFL, MLB and other professional athletes around the world.
"Sports has been one of the strongest and fastest-growing segments of our portfolio, and a business that has proven to be truly global in its appeal," says Cole. "With the addition of Pony, we believe we can leverage our existing sports platform including our Danskin, Starter and Umbro brands, which represent over 2 billion of global retail sales and create significant value for the brand."
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