Iconix Buys Out Chinese Partner

Iconix Brand Group has acquired the remaining 50 percent of its joint venture Iconix China from partner Novel Fashion Brands Limited for $56.4 million.

April 6, 2018

Iconix Buys Out Chinese Partner

Iconix Brand Group has acquired the remaining 50 percent of its joint venture Iconix China from partner Novel Fashion Brands Limited for $56.4 million.

The deal was settled with $40.4 million in cash and $16 million in stock, giving brand manager Iconix full control and ownership of the Chinese company. Iconix China owns equity stakes in two joint ventures with Shanghai La Chapelle, publicly traded stocks in partner China Outfitters, equity stakes in six additional retail ventures and portfolio of 15 unplaced brands.

"We view China as a major growth opportunity. Iconix China has successfully launched nine of our brands with more than 900 standalone stores, shop-in-shops and counters throughout China," says Neil Cole, chairman and chief executive officer, Iconix. "Now that our business has gained sufficient scale, we have decided to acquire management and control of the business, consistent with the next phase of our international growth strategy."

Iconix China was formed in September 2008

with the goal of providing entrepreneurs and local Chinese companies the opportunity to invest in Iconix brands through standalone stores and shop-in-shops. In return, Iconix China receives an equity stake in each newly formed venture. This differs from the standard Iconix operating model of licensing out brand extensions.

Iconix China has found success with Candie's and Marc Ecko Cut & Sew with partner Shanghai La Chapelle Fashion Co., London Fog with China Outfitters, Material Girl with Ningbo Peacebird, Ed Hardy with Landmark International, Ecko Unltd with Xi Ha Clothing, Badgley Mischka with Eve NY, Joe Boxer with Northeast Socks and Royal Velvet with Qingdao Hongfang.

The largest brand in the Iconix China joint venture is Candie's, which partnered with Shanghai La Chapelle in 2010. The Candie's business in China currently includes more than 700 stores and shop-in-shops and is poised for continued growth.

The company's business platform in China also includes three global brands–Peanuts, Umbro and Lee Cooper–which have been managed outside of the joint venture. China has been one of the fastest -growing territories in the world for the Peanuts brand where it currently has more than 2,000 points of distribution including 20 Charlie Brown Cafe's. In 2014, Iconix partnered with Global Brands Group to build out the Lee Cooper and Umbro brands in China, both of which have strong brand recognition in the region.

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