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SK Networks Acquires Y & Kei and Hanii Y

SK Networks Co. Ltd., a $17 billion Seoul-based global marketing company, has acquired Obzee Co. Ltd. and its affiliate brands Y & Kei and Hanii Y.

SK Networks Co. Ltd., a $17 billion Seoul-based global marketing company, has acquired Obzee Co. Ltd. and its affiliate brands Y & Kei and Hanii Y.

This story first appeared in the December 18, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

With a $60 million, five-year investment plan, SK Networks plans to bolster marketing and merchandising for both labels, which were started by the husband-and-wife design team of Hanii Yoon and Gene Kang. The brands generate $100 million in turnover and $10 million in profits annually. The designers, who retain their titles as creative directors, will relocate from Seoul to Manhattan, where SK Networks will open a design center to focus on broadening the pair’s global marketing efforts.

After working with SK Networks on different brands, Robert Burke Associates will be pitching in with the development and merchandising of Y & Kei and Hanii Y, as well as widening retail distribution. The labels are sold at Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman and other retailers worldwide. The design duo is also considering opening stores in New York, Paris, London, Tokyo and Shanghai, according to a statement on Monday.

Robert Burke Associates is also helping SK Networks to expand distribution in Korea and China and to introduce an undisclosed U.S. retailer to Seoul.

“The desire for luxury goods in Seoul is very interesting,” Burke said. “What we’re finding with the weak dollar is that we’re dealing with more international companies looking at U.S. acquisitions.”

SK Networks is the exclusive distributor of Donna Karan, DKNY and Tommy Hilfiger in Korea. The company also sells its private label brands through China. Last year the company took a minority stake in Richard Chai’s business.