Inside Licensing News and Notes, June 5, 2018

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Marshawn Lynch’s Beast Mode Strikes Licensing Deal with NFLPA

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch’s Beast Mode Apparel company signs a licensing agreement with NFL Players Inc. and will introduce of co-brand hoodies, t-shirts, hats and other items this fall featuring players’ names and Beast Mode brand. Lynch will be select players for the program based on those he believes “best model the Beast Mode ethos,” which focuses on giving back to the community and helping underprivileged youth. says NFL Player’s Inc.’s Steve Scebelo. Lynch started his company in 2013 as an ecommerce business selling t-shirts under the Beast Mode brand. Lynch has since signed deals with NFL Properties to sell Oakland Raiders jerseys with team and Beast Mode logos. Beast Mode also operates stores in Seattle (where Lynch spent much of his career) and Oakland.


Beast Mode, Byron Sheng, Chief Marketing Officer, 206-519-7960

NFL Players Inc., Steve Scebelo,  VP Licensing and Business Development, 202- 572-7472,


Michael Kors ‘Restaging’ Licensing in Jewelry, Watches

Michael Kors is “restaging” its licensing business in watches and jewelry as it moves to more premium models, company executives told analysts as it reported results for the quarter and year ended March 31.

Kors (via licensee Fossil) will shift from fashion jewelry to fine pieces that feature sterling silver, 14-karat gold plating and semi-precious stones, CEO John Idol said. In watches, the focus will be on smartwatches after Kors cut inventory on fashion versions during Q4.   ”We believe that repositioning our jewelry line represents a significant growth opportunity over the next several years,” Idol said.

Kors’ licensing revenue declined 11.1% in Q4 to $29.7 million as it moved to discontinue fashion jewelry and focus on its Access smartwatches. Q4 income from the licensing business fell 36% to $7.1 million. Kors’ shift to a “more elevated” jewelry and watch business will result in a single-digit percentage decrease in licensing revenue for the year ending March 31, 2019, CFO Thomas Edwards said. “We were not happy with what we were putting forward to the customer in terms of fashion watches” and the new models will “put us in a much better place than we have been,” Idol said.

Overall, Kors posted a $44.1 million profit in Q4, reversing a year-earlier $26.8 million loss as revenue increased 5% to $1.17 billion, as the company benefitted from the acquisition of the Jimmy Choo brand.  That brand produced $108 million in revenue in Q4 and is expected record $570-$580 million in sales in the year ending March 31, 2019, Edwards said.


Michael Kors, Thomas Edwards, Chief Financial Officer, 212-201-8100


Cherokee Sells Flip Flop Shops

Footwear maker Bearpaw Holdings agreed to buy the 56-store Flip Flop Shop chain from Cherokee as Cherokee continues to sharpen focus on its Cherokee, Tony Hawk, Hi-Tec and Magnum brands. Terms of the sale weren’t disclosed. Cherokee purchased Flip Flop Shops and about 90 franchised locations for $12 million in 2015. It has franchised locations in the U.S. (43 stores) and international (13 in Canada, the Middle East, South Africa and the Caribbean) markets. Cherokee’s license revenue from Flip Flop Shop licensees declined to 7% to $2 million in the fiscal year ended Feb. 3 as franchisees closed 20 stores.  Cherokee took an $8.4 million asset impairment charge in fiscal 2018 related to Flip Flop Shops as revenue fell short of its forecast.

The deal “aligns with our strategy to focus on scaling our high-growth brands through global licensed partnerships,” Cherokee CEO Henry Stupp said in a statement. At the time Cherokee purchased Flip Flop Shops, it was building a surfwear business that includes Everyday California, Point Cove and Sideout brands.

Bearpaw sells a range of footwear (sneakers, slippers and boots), including NeverWet by Rust-Oleum waterproof boots under a license with RPM International.


Cherokee, Henry Stupp, CEO, 818-908-9868 x200, henrys@cherokeeusa.

Nomad Foods Buys Aunt Bessie’s Brand

Nomad Foods agrees to buy Aunt Bessie’s Ltd. from William Jackson & Sons for €270 million and acquired with it an extensive outbound licensing pact with Symington Ltd. for the UK and Ireland. The Aunt Bessie’s brand, known for Yorkshire pudding and frozen potatoes, was licensed to Symington for gravy, custards and stuffing, in 2010. Nomad was founded in 2014 and has since acquired a range of brands, including Iglo Group (Birds Eye, Iglo and Findus brands) and Green Isle Foods (Goodfella frozen pizzas).


William Jackson & Sons, Gary Urmston, Chief Financial Officer, +44 1482 224 939

Nomad Foods, Taposh Bari, Chief Financial Officer, 718-290-7950

Symington Ltd., Kevin Butterworth, Marketing Dir., +44 113 270 6061.


Peppa Pig Play Area Expanding Outside UK

Peppa Pig play areas are expanding outside the UK for the first time, with licensee Merlin Entertainment announcing plans to open in China and the U.S. by the end of 2019. The first will be in the LC Mall in Shanghai late this year, with plans for facilities in Beijing, Michigan, New York and Dallas, TX. These are the first indoor attractions for the brand. Merlin’s license doesn’t include the UK, where Paultons Park opened the first Peppa Pig outdoor section in 2011 and expanded it earlier this year.


Entertainment One, Andrew Carley, EVP Global Licensing +44 203 691 8513,


Devar Books Adds Nickelodeon Characters to AR Platform

Devar Books is bringing Nickelodeon characters into its augmented reality (AR) platform for publishing. The AR-based coloring books with Nickelodeon characters (Shimmer and Shine, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and others) will be available late this summer. The pact brings the Nickelodeon onto a platform that already includes Hasbro (Hanazuki, Transformers), Rovio Entertainment (Angry Birds) and Mattel (Barbie, Hot Wheels). The Devar platform combines printed products with a free software application that can be downloaded to iPhone and Google smartphones. When the smartphone is pointed at a coloring book for which additional content has been created, the installed app “reads” the page and displays the image on the smartphone screen. Devar also has licenses for Russian characters including Aeroplane Productions’ “The Fixies” and Fun Union’s “Kikoriki.”


Devar Books, Anna Belova, Co-Founder, 323-238-3842,