David Beckham sells majority stake in brand to ABG for US$269m

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Former England captain, David Beckham has gone into a strategic partnership with Authentic Brands Group (ABG) who will co-own and manage the soccer icon’s global brand.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but CNBC reports that the brand management company paid US$269 million for a 55 per cent stake in DB Ventures, which manages Beckham’s endorsement deals.

The pair will work together to further grow Beckham’s brand through strategic endorsements, innovative business models, digital and media partnerships, and new consumer products.

The agreement also sees Beckham become a shareholder in New York-headquartered ABG, whose portfolio features rights to iconic athletes such as Muhammad Ali and brands including Sports Illustrated.

The company also agreed on a deal to buy sportswear brand Reebok from Adidas for €2.1 billion (US$2.3 billion) in August. The Reebok acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.

In addition, ABG’s deal with Beckham sees it become the largest shareholder in the Studio 99 production company. Co-founded by Beckham in 2019, it has several documentary series in development and production for the likes of Netflix and Disney+.

“We are thrilled to welcome David Beckham to ABG’s esteemed entertainment division and even further honoured to call him an ABG shareholder. David is a superstar talent with an incredible global brand reach and a highly influential presence,” said Jamie Salter, founder, chairman and chief executive of ABG.

“David and his team have built an enterprise that spans sports, entertainment, lifestyle and luxury, and we see significant opportunities to scale his brand and expand it into new verticals.”

Beckham added: “ABG takes an innovative approach to global brand development, and I’m delighted to be joining them.

“Our shared vision makes ABG the ideal strategic partner to help unlock the full potential of my brand and business. I’m incredibly grateful for the support I have received in my business career and proud of what our team has achieved. I’m excited for the next chapter.”

The DB Ventures investment comes after ABG filed for an initial public offering (IPO) last summer. However, the plan was shelved and the company chose to sell significant equity stakes to CVC Capital Partners, HPS Investment Partners and existing stakeholders. The deal, announced in November, valued ABG at US$12.7 billion.