Iconix Buys Out China Joint Venture Partner

by Harry Sheff

Iconix Iconix Brand Group, Inc. has bought out its joint venture partner Novel Fashion Brands Limited, acquiring its 50% stake in Iconix China for $56.4 million—$40.4 million cash and $16 million in stock.

Iconix China, founded in September 2008, launched several Iconix brands in China through local investors with Iconix China taking an equity stake, rather than Iconix’s licensing model. Iconix China was formed as a joint venture with Novel Fashion Brands, which is owned by the Chou family.

“We view China as a major growth opportunity,” commented Iconix CEO Neil Cole in a statement. “Through Silas and Veronica Chou’s expertise and relationships, Iconix China has successfully launched nine of our brands with more than 900 standalone stores, shop-in-shops and counters throughout China. 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.”

The nine brands launched in China are Candie’s and Marc Ecko Cut & Sew (a partnership with Shanghai La Chapelle Fashion Co. Ltd); 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).

Iconix’s three international brands, Peanuts, Umbro and Lee Cooper, were managed outside the Iconix China joint venture.