Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Rocawear Purchased by Iconix

Inconix Brand group announced today that it is now the official owner of Rocawear. For those of you not familiar, Iconix is a publically held company whose best-known brands are Candies and Joe Boxer.

Iconix paid $204 million in cash. Given that folks have recently been speculating that it would be purchased for as low as $160 million or as high as $200 million, you gotta give Mr. Sean Carter some more props for his business acumen. Speaking of the wonder child, he will be staying around as the brand's chief creative officer.

"[Sean Carter] will retain his stake in the operating company and his two partners, Alex Bize and Norton Cher, will continue to run the company and enter into a long-term license agreement with Iconix for the core young men's apparel category.

As part of the deal, Iconix will also enter into a separate joint venture with Carter, to establish a new brand management and licensing company to identify brands to be acquired or developed."

Now this is where it gets interesting. 'Member all the recent chitchat about Jay and Dame mending fences? Now that we know Hov is in a spending frame of mind, it makes a lot more sense that those two are talking, doesn't it? As things stand now, Dame is the licensee for Pro-Keds footwear and apparel, which, as far as I know, is owned by Stride Rite. The thing that I'm confused about is why Rocawear is linked to the Pro-Ked web page. I thought that relationship ended when Sean bought Dame's shares in Rocawear in 2005.

UPDATE: My buddy Tarik, who only knows the sneaker game about 100 times better than me, wrote to let me know that "if u check out the new roc-a-wear ads....they are linked to pro-keds. They have matching shirts with the shoes." So does that mean that when Rocawear apparel goes mass market, Pro-Keds will follow along behind it? Or will poor Dame once again be left in Jay's wake?

One other thing is that word on the Rocawear brand was that it was slowly leaking sales. Which makes sense. It's an urban brand in a retail world that is suddenly running like an escaped convict from that description. These days it's all about streetwear, which people will also be running from a few years from now. "We're not streetwear, we're [insert next hot description for clothing that city people like to rock]," but in the meantime, Iconix didn't buy a brand so that it could let it slowly peter out with the retailers who currently carry it. So expect to find Rocawear showing up in all sorts of stores you'd never imagined it being in. Hopefully we're not talking FUBU levels of ugliness, but I wouldn't be surprised.

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