Sports Direct Continues To Up Its Stake In Iconix

Sports Direct International plc, mega UK-based sports retailer and owner of several sport, fashion and lifestyle brands, has its eye on Iconix Brand Group.

According to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday, Sports Direct has snapped up another chunk of Iconix shares, upping its stake from 11.5 percent, as filed with the SEC on Jan. 11, to 14.4 percent.

Footwear News first reported, on Jan 6, that the UK firm nabbed an indirect economic interest in 4.3 million Iconix shares, or 9 percent of Iconix.

At that time, insiders were already speculating that Sports Direct could be eyeing an Iconix takeover — particularly, in lieu of Iconix’s recent public struggles, which include an SEC investigation, a string of lawsuits, and the abrupt departures of its CEO, CFO and COO.

Sports Direct, founded by British billionaire Mike Ashley in 1982, operates approximately 455 sports stores in the UK, according to its website. Its retail division sells products for brands in its portfolio and its brands division “exploits the brands through its wholesale and licensing businesses,” the website said.

Dunlop, Slazenger, Everlast, LA Gear and Kangol are among the company’s sports and leisure brands while Crafted, Fabric and Firetrap are a few its fashion and lifestyle labels.

According to SEC filings, Sports Direct does not have the power to “vote or direct the vote or to dispose or direct the disposition,” of any of the shares.

Sports Direct’s aggressive purchasing of Iconix shares started started on Nov. 20, according to SEC filings. The firm now has an indirect economic interest in 6,980,539 shares (or 14.42 percent of Iconix).

The move also follows Iconix’s confirmation yesterday that it is attempting to right size it portfolio with the sale of its 50 percent stake in streetwear labels, Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream.

Musician Pharrell Williams and his business partners repurchased Iconix’s stake and are now back in full control of BBC Ice Cream LLC.

Among Iconix’s brands and licenses are Candie’s, Badgley Mischka, Peanuts, Ed Hardy and Marc Ecko.

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