Iconix Brand Group Inc. has acquired the North American rights to the sneaker brand Pony and related intangible assets in partnership with Anthony L&S Athletics, LLC (AL&S) for $37 million in cash from Symphony Holdings, Ltd.
The assets will be purchased through a newly formed subsidiary, which will be owned 75 percent by Iconix and 25 percent by AL&S. In exchange for its 25 percent interest in the partnership, AL&S contributed its previously held perpetual rights to the Pony brand in the U.S. and Canada and will be the core footwear licensee going forward. AL&S owns and licenses Etonic, G-Star Raw and Levi's in the footwear space.
Pony was founded in 1972 and quickly became a hot lifestyle and athletic brand. Among the many athletes who wore Pony shoes were Pele, Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, David Thompson, Darryl Dawkins, Spud Webb, Dan Marino, Lawrence Taylor, Reggie Jackson, and Tracy Austin. It was out of business by the eighties and has since undergone several unsuccessful turnarounds.
Past owners have included The Firm, which partnered with ACI in an attempt to relaunch the brand with celebrities such as Justin Timberlake, Korn, Snoop Doggy dog and Paris Hilton at the turn of the century. In 2003, Global Brand Marketing, led by Killick Datta, acquired the brand. In April, 2006, Infinity Associates LLC and Symphony Holdings Ltd. acquired Pony and both Jim Stroesser, a key partner in rebuilding Converse, and Kevin Wulff, who now heads Asics America, steered the brand for a time.
Iconix has found success reviving some brands in part by entering into licensing deals with major retailers. It licensed a basics line under the Starter name to Walmart. It also introduced Ocean Pacific and a sub-brand, Danskin Now, as exclusives to Walmart but has entered into other licensing deals with its other brands with Target and many department stores.
Pony will join Iconix’ other sports brands, Danskin, Starter and Umbro, which represent over $2 billion of global retail sales.
“There is high demand for authentic athletic lifestyle brands,” said Seth Horowitz, COO of Iconix. “With Pony's strong brand recognition across both male and female consumers, we believe we can grow Pony throughout North America, creating a profitable multi-tiered distribution strategy similar to our other successful sports brands. Further, we plan to leverage our existing global platform as we explore opportunities in additional geographies.”