The U.K.’s largest sports-goods retailer holds a 9 percent stake in Iconix.
In a statement Friday, Sports Direct said that from its vantage point as a long-term Iconix stockholder, it has seen operational and strategic decisions result in “severe value destruction for its investors.” It cited the drop in stock price where shares now trade at under 70 cents, a substantial debt load relative to revenues and the loss of major direct-to-retail licensing agreements. The retailer also said it made attempts to “engage constructively” with the brand management firm, but those efforts “led nowhere.”
As for its nominees, Sports Direct said “three of the four are seasoned executives affiliated with Sports Direct and all four of our nominees are veterans of the retail and brand licensing industries.”
The nominees proposed by the sporting goods retailer who are connected to its affiliates are Ronald McPherson, president and chief executive officer of The Antigua Group, Inc.; Howard Moher, ceo of SDI USA LLC, SDI Stores USA LLC, Mountain Sports LLC and Bobs Stores USA LLC, and Mark Hunter, chief financial officer and acting ceo of Everlast Worldwide Inc. The fourth nominee, Daniel Dienst, is the founder and managing member of D2Quared LLC, as well as former ceo of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc.
Iconix confirmed receipt of the proposed slate and said its nominating and corporate governance committee will review and consider the nominations in “due course.” It also said the board would present a formal recommendation regarding director nominees in the company’s definitive proxy statement that will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Iconix said it has a “long history of actively engaging with its shareholders, including Sports Direct.” Iconix emphasized that the company and its board has held numerous discussion with Sports Direct over the past several years to listen to its feedback.
Iconix further said, “Despite Iconix’s efforts to maintain a constructive dialogue, Sports Direct is effectively seeking control of the company without paying a control premium.”