HONG KONG — David Beckham and his business partner Simon Fuller have inked a joint venture deal with Li & Fung spin-off Global Brands.
Global Brands, in a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange, said the venture will “drive the continued development of the Beckham brand globally” and create “large-scale global brands in partnership with a number of other high-profile iconic sports and entertainment stars.” Together, Beckham and Fuller are 50-50 partners with Global Brands.
Beyond that, Beckham, Fuller and Global Brands chief executive officer Bruce Rockowitz, who were all at a press conference at the Ritz-Carlton in Kowloon on Wednesday, did not disclose much detail about what the joint venture will entail, other than to say that it would cover multiple product categories globally. Global Brands declined to say when products would be revealed, what other stars they are talking to or even if David Beckham will have a namesake brand.
“That’s something that we’ll be discussing and we have a lot of thoughts on that. Will there be a DB brand, David Beckham brand or if it’ll be something else,” said Rockowitz.
The trio did emphasize that the joint venture would be far more than just a clothing line, which Beckham has reportedly been looking into launching.
“It’s a much bigger concept than any one brand. We’re building a company, a partnership, and launching today to build scalable brands globally around iconic stars in sports and entertainment,” Rockowitz said, adding that the partnership would be across the whole consumer space, including apparel, kids’ wear, electronics and even food, and would not be in the luxury space.
“It’s a very encompassing partnership around David as well as some other iconic superstars that we’re bringing in. David has a list, but because we’re a public company, we really can’t divulge that right now. We can’t announce and talk about it until it’s final. At this moment nothing is final,” Rockowitz said about other celebrities that the joint venture might be signing on.
“We won’t be building just one brand. Creating a sportswear or underwear line with David would be great, but we want to do more,” he continued.
Beckham, who stepped off the airplane just hours before the press conference, having been at wife Victoria Beckham’s side at the British Fashion Awards on Monday, said his new business venture is separate.
“Her business is separate from this but obviously she’s part of this too, because we’re partners. We’re husband and wife. She’s excited about this,” Beckham said.
“Throughout my career I’ve had quite a few sponsorship deals, but this takes it to a different level, a different area. I’ve gone from being in a sponsorship deal to now becoming an owner,” he said.
Beckham said he was looking forward to being more involved on the creative side.
“Over my career, I’ve also been involved, really intensely, with the creative side of things, whether it’s pictures or the brand. But now I’m really involved and myself, Bruce, Simon, Dow [Famulak, president of LF USA], we’ll be making decisions about who comes on to this venture with us. This is not just about myself,” he said.
In April, WWD reported that Beckham had been talking to several companies, including Li & Fung, about launching his own men’s sportswear collection. Since then, speculation about a Beckham-Li & Fung deal has been mounting. Last month, photos showing Beckham visiting Li & Fung’s offices circulated online.
Beckham has been raising his fashion profile with several collaborations, including a swimwear and bodywear deal with Hennes & Mauritz, a men’s fragrance partnership with Coty Inc. and an apparel collaboration with Adidas. He is also the face of Belstaff’s 2014 global ad campaign, which was shot by Peter Lindbergh. Beckham also designed a 10-piece capsule collection of motorbiking items for Belstaff.
Sourcing giant Li & Fung spun off its global brands and licensing business into a separately listed company in July. Global Brands has a portfolio of more than 350 labels, most of which are licensing agreements. Licensed brands in its portfolio include products for Calvin Klein, Dockers, Tommy Hilfiger and Under Armour. The company also has experience with celebrity fashion lines, producing brands for Jennifer Lopez, Rachel Zoe and Sean John.
Global Brands’ shares inched up 0.6 percent on Wednesday to close at 1.69 Hong Kong dollars, or 22 cents at current exchange.