Iconix bolsters upscale market offering with Buffalo JV

Iconix Brand Group Inc, known for its apparel labels such as Candie's and Starter, acquired control of the Buffalo David Bitton brand to expand into higher-end brands.

Iconix said it paid Buffalo International ULC $76.5 million in cash for a 51 percent stake in the brand.

Buffalo David Bitton
"This diversifies them up the chain a little bit... their exposure to the lower-end brands has been disproportionate and (Buffalo) is certainly not a lower-end brand," C.L. King & Associates analyst Steven Marotta said.

Under the Buffalo David Bitton brand, the company sells denim, sportswear, activewear and accessories at upscale department stores such as Macy's Inc and Lord & Taylor.

Iconix owns or licenses dozens of brands that are sold at retail stores such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Sears Holding Corp.

"The company is going to drive earnings higher as it puts the balance sheet to work through a combination of acquisitions and stock repurchases. Today's news reinforced that," Monness, Crespi, Hardt, & Co Inc analyst Jim Chartier said.

Iconix bought the Umbro sneaker brand from Nike Inc for $225 million last October and the worldwide license for the Ed Hardy brand in April 2011.

The company said it raised its full-year revenue and earnings per share forecast to reflect the Buffalo deal and share repurchases. It now expects to earn between $2.00 and $2.10 per share, up from $1.85 to $1.95 per share.

Iconix expects revenue of between $415 million and $425 million, up from $395 million to $405 million.

Analysts on average were looking for full-year profit of $1.92 per share, on revenue of $399.62 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of the company, which has a market valuation of about $1.65 billion, were down slightly at $23.99 on Monday morning on the Nasdaq.

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