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Iconix buy 50% stake of Ed Hardy brand

New York -- Iconix Brand Group Inc. has acquired a 50% interest in Hardy Way LLC, the owner of tattoo-inspired designer lifestyle brand and trademark Ed Hardy.

“Obviously, we would have loved to own 100%,” said Neil Cole, chairman and ceo, during Iconix’s first-quarter earnings call today. “But we also think keeping [artist] Ed [Hardy] around will help us possibly with other branding opportunities and exploit the brand further.”

Iconix said in a statement that it paid $17 million for its interest in Hardy Way -- $9 million in cash and $8 million in stock. Hardy Way could be entitled to receive an additional $1 million in stock pursuant to an earn-out based on 2009 royalties received by the sellers. Hardy Way estimates that 2009 royalty revenue will be approximately $10 million.

"We are excited to have the opportunity to participate in the continued success of the Ed Hardy brand and believe there are tremendous growth opportunities worldwide,” Cole continued. “We also believe that by owning the brand alongside Don Ed Hardy, the founder, there will be opportunities to further leverage his iconic name along with his new artwork."

Hardy’s artwork dates back to 1967, when he helped transformed the tattoo business into an artistic medium, earning him the title of "godfather of modern tattoo," Iconix said in the statement.

Since 2003, the Ed Hardy brand has been run by Nervous Tattoo, which is owned by Christian Audigier. Today, the brand’s more than 50 product categories – including home -- are marketed and sold in more than 55 countries.

The Ed Hardy brand represents the latest addition to Iconix’s vastly growing line of consumer brands, which in home also includes Cannon, Royal Velvet, Fieldcrest and Charisma.

Iconix said that the brand has “tremendous celebrity following,” with fans such as Madonna, Britney Spears and KanyeCQ West, “who are frequently seen wearing Ed Hardy designs.”

Said Don Ed Hardy: "As demand for my artwork continues to skyrocket, I felt it was time to take on a partner that could help me manage the demand and opportunities for the Ed Hardy name."

 

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