UK-based Sports Direct has snapped up an indirect economic interest in 4.3 million Iconix shares, or 9 percent of the company.
Iconix’s shares slipped over 10 percent, to $6.66, and continued to fall in early trading. They were $33 at the start of January 2015.
At 10:20 a.m. EDT Iconix’s shares were down more than 24 percent and several analysts have also downgraded the stock.
Cole, the longtime chairman, CEO and president of Iconix, stepped down this afternoon.
Iconix Brand Group Inc. has acquired the remaining 50 percent of Iconix China from its joint venture partner Novel Fashion Brands Ltd., owned by the Chou family, for $56.4 million.
CEO Neil Cole said sports had been a fast-growing area of the firm’s portfolio.