David Beckham has found a new home.
Authentic Brands Group, a global brand owner, development and entertainment company, has entered into a strategic partnership with the British footballer to co-own and manage Beckham’s global brand. ABG worked directly with David Beckham Ventures Ltd. on the deal.
Beckham’s brand, Seven Global, was previously a joint venture between David Beckham Ventures Ltd. and Global Brands Group. Last year, GBG ended its operations, and sources at the time said DBVL was in the process of buying GBG’s 51% stake in Seven Global and taking full control of the company.
As part of the new partnership, Beckham became a shareholder of ABG. Beckham’s intellectual property is in a company.
Beckham joins ABG’s growing entertainment roster which includes iconic athletes and sports brands such as Muhammad Ali, Shaquille O’Neal and Sports Illustrated. ABG will soon own Reebok once ABG completes its €2.1 billion purchase from Adidas on February 28.
Beckham, whose professional football career spanned more than two decades, has built a diverse portfolio of brands and businesses that cater to a global audience and is supported by key strategic partners such as Adidas, Tudor Watches, Coty, Maserati, EA Sports, Sands and Diageo.
Beckham, which has no fashion deal at the moment – its deal with Kent & Curwen ended in 2020 after five years – has products such as perfumes with Coty, sunglasses with Safilo, watches with Tudor and Scotch whiskey with Diageo. Industry sources said they see a big opportunity for Beckham to expand into more mass product categories if he is willing to participate in these deals.
“We are delighted to welcome David Beckham to ABG’s prestigious entertainment division and even more honored to call him an ABG shareholder,” said Jamie Salter, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ABG. “David is a superstar talent with incredible global brand reach and a highly influential presence. David and his team have built a business that encompasses sports, entertainment, lifestyle and luxury, and we see significant opportunities to evolve its brand and expand into new verticals.
Salter said he has been friends with Beckham for a very long time, and even before Beckham signed with GBG, they talked about becoming partners. Salter said he told her, “If this deal ever goes through and you want to talk, I’m all for it.” About a year ago, Beckham came to him and told him he thought he was going to buy out his categories and wanted to make a deal with Salter. “Once he did that, he could make a deal with us,” Salter said.
Asked where he sees the most potential for Beckham’s brand, and whether it’s more mass or luxury, Salter replied, “Luxury.”
He said Beckham represents “the best of the best”.
“We are going to be very careful. If you look at David Beckham’s business today, it’s very tight. He doesn’t have many offers,” Salter said. He said he didn’t really have any merchandise offers.
“We already have great ideas. Obviously, we want to develop the brand. There are significant opportunities in the sports, entertainment and luxury categories,” said Salter.
According to Salter, the big interest in ABG was the brand’s global appeal. Salter said Beckham means a lot in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, America and Europe, and has a strong digital presence. Beckham has more than 138 million followers and annual impressions exceeding nine billion on Instagram, Facebook and its China-specific channels, Weibo and Douyin.
In the UK, he is the most followed and engaged individual on social media, and his profile on Chinese platform Douyin has the highest engagement of any international account. Beckham would bring the total social media count of ABG’s portfolio to over 420 million.
Beckham added: “ABG takes an innovative approach to global brand development, and I am delighted to join them. Our shared vision makes ABG the ideal strategic partner to help unlock the full potential of my brand and my business. I am extremely grateful for the support I have received in my business career and proud of what our team has accomplished. I’m excited for the next chapter.
Beckham and his leadership team will partner with ABG to grow the David Beckham brand through strategic recommendations, innovative business models, digital and media partnerships and new consumer products.
The partnership with Beckham is an integral part of ABG’s global strategy to launch new verticals, expand its commercial footprint and drive growth in key territories including EMEA and APAC.
As part of this next phase, ABG has officially opened its European headquarters in London, which will house David Beckham’s team. Salter said he kept Beckham’s team intact. “We now have over 30 people in London working on ABG and Beckham on an ongoing basis,” Salter said.
Additionally, ABG will also become the largest shareholder of Studio 99, an integrated creative and production studio co-founded by Beckham in 2019. The company has a roster of documentary series in development and production for global platforms including Netflix and Disney+, in addition to commercial programs. company generating content and creative marketing campaigns for a range of global brand clients.
Beckham has played football for some of the most successful clubs in the world. He was a member of Manchester United’s ‘Class of ’92’ and was the first English footballer to win league titles in four countries with Manchester United in England, Real Madrid in Spain, LA Galaxy in the USA and the Paris Saint Germain in France. He is a former England captain who played 115 times for his country, including three FIFA World Cups. In 2018, Beckham became co-owner of Major League Soccer franchise Inter Miami CF.
Philanthropically, Beckham has been a UNICEF Global Goodwill Ambassador for nearly 20 years. In 2015, he launched the 7th Fund for UNICEF, which supports children around the world, with a focus on girls’ education, health and justice. He also supports the British fashion industry worldwide, encouraging investment and supporting emerging talent as Chairman Ambassador of the British Fashion Council. He is an ambassador for Malaria No More and patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
“We have known David and his team for many years and are excited to join forces to innovate,” said Nick Woodhouse, President and Chief Merchandising Officer of ABG. “Together, we will build on its remarkable brand and business platform to drive long-term growth and success.”
David Gardner, Managing Director of David Beckham Ventures, added: “ABG is a global licensing and branding leader with a proven track record of successfully exploiting industry trends and innovation across products and platforms. We look forward to partnering with Jamie, Nick and the rest of the ABG team to further develop David’s brand and business.
According to Companies House in the UK, DBVL made a profit of £9 million in 2019 on turnover of £12.7 million.
Industry watchers applauded the Beckham-ABG match.
“I think that makes a lot of sense when you think about ABG’s sweet spot. They’re the biggest of the licensing companies and can really roll things out across multiple categories,” said Robert Burke, president and CEO. from the management of Robert Burke Associates, a New York-based consulting firm. He said that sometimes athletes and celebrities can go too far and become “too luxurious” when it comes to price positioning, but “ABG knows really how to target a very small audience”.
Burke also believes Beckham continues to have a very high profile. “It doesn’t hurt that his wife is Victoria Beckham and former Posh Spice, and they’re a power couple,” Burke said.
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