According to a Sky News report, Beckham’s parent company, David Beckham Ventures Ltd., is in talks to take back majority control of Seven Global, a joint venture with the Hong Kong arm of Global Brands Group.
The purchase of GBG’s 51 percent stake in Seven Global could cost DBVL around $40 million, and industry sources told WWD the money would be well spent.
A spokesperson for DBVL declined to comment. A GBG spokesperson said the group and Seven Global “enjoy a long, successful and ongoing relationship, which we look forward to continuing. We fully respect confidentiality with all our business partners, and do not comment on market speculation.”
But industry sources close to both parties say a divorce could be on the horizon, with DBVL keen to take full control of Seven as part of a wider strategy to consolidate all of the David Beckham licenses, brands and partnerships under one roof.
The Seven Global portfolio includes Beckham’s deals with Tudor, Coty, Adidas and Biotherm. Until now, DBVL has been managing the partnerships, activations and marketing directly, with GBG overseeing the finances.
But the Beckham portfolio is a broad one and Beckham has been keen to take charge of his businesses. In 2019, Beckham set up an independent, eponymous brand following an amicable separation from former business partners, XIX Entertainment.
According to Companies House in the U.K., DBVL notched a profit of 9 million pounds in 2019 on revenue of 12.7 million pounds.
More recently, during lockdown, he was busy signing deals, including becoming global ambassador of Maserati.
In addition to the new soccer team Inter Miami CF, and various brand partnerships, Beckham also does work for UNICEF through the Seven Fund, campaigns for Malaria No More and has served as an ambassador of the British Fashion Council. He also has media interests through his film, content and branding agency called Studio 99.
It appears the time is right for him to move on from GBG, which is struggling — at least in North America.
As reported last month, questions continue to grow concerning GBG’s future. The North American division has issued a warning about continuing as a going concern, and is looking to sell off its brands, according to industry sources.
Two of GBG’s biggest licensed brands, Spyder and Frye, have transitioned back to their owner, Authentic Brands Group, and are in the process of being reassigned to new licensees. In fact, earlier this month ABG assigned the Spyder license to Liberated Brands, an operating company of Volcom, as reported.
Sources also indicated that GBG in North America could potentially look to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this year, and might look to auction off all of its assets.
Global Brands Group was created in 2005 as a division of Li & Fung to manage private label brands. It was subsequently spun off and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2014.
Later that year, it formed a venture with David Beckham to develop Seven Global to manage the Beckham brand across various categories. The Beckham business is part of the Hong Kong company, which is healthy, and wouldn’t be part of any North American bankruptcy filing.