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Iconix Buys Sharper Image Brand

10/28/2011 10:25:11 AM Eastern
New York - Iconix Brand Group has acquired the Sharper Image brand for approximately $65.6 million.

The all-cash deal with the joint venture that bought the chain in a bankruptcy auction in early 2008 for $49 million includes all intellectual properties, including licensing rights.

The former parent shuttered all of the chains remaining stores out of bankruptcy, liquidated $50 million in inventory and relaunched the brand with a global licensing strategy for wholesale, direct-to-retail, e-commerce and catalog businesses.

That former parent, led by Gordon Brothers Group, Hilco Consumer Capital and Bluestar Alliance, subsequently inked licensing deals with a number of consumer electronics companies, and the brand badge can be found on accessories products such as iPod docking stations and headphones from HoMedics and charging devices from Tandy Brands, among others.

Iconix maintains a large portfolio of licensed consumer product lines, including London Fog, Ocean Pacific, Danskin, Roca Wear, Cannon, Royal Velvet and Fieldcrest.

"This is an exciting acquisition for Iconix," commented Neil Cole, Iconix chairman/CEO. "With the addition of the Sharper Image brand, we continue to demonstrate the diversification of our business model and strength of our company. We always believed that the Iconix platform could be leveraged across numerous industries and this acquisition reinforces that message."

Gary Talarico, president/CEO of Gordon Brothers Group, issued a joint statement with Jeffrey Hecktman, chairman/CEO of Hilco's parent, and Joey Gabbay, CEO of Bluesta: "We are pleased to transition the stewardship of the Sharper Image brand to Iconix, one of the premier global brand managers in the industry."

Sharper Image was founded as a high-end lifestyle catalog by Richard Thalheimer in San Francisco in 1977, who grew the business into a proprietary CE specialty chain of nearly 200 locations, mostly in indoor shopping malls. Thalheimer stepped down as chairman and CEO in 2006 after a proxy battle with dissident investors. He was succeeded by turnaround specialist Jerry Levin who was hired by the board to help fix the company's operating issues. Levin took the company into bankruptcy in February 2008.
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