Global Brand Marketing, Inc., (GBMI) and The Firm jointly announced today the formation of a new entity, Pony International, LLC that will own, control and exploit the Pony brand on a global basis. As the owner of a majority interest in the new entity, GBMI will become, effective immediately, the general manager of the Pony brand and will direct activities such as design, production, distribution, marketing, public relations, human resources, finance and legal. The Firm will continue to provide marketing services for Pony including assisting with such activities as brand imaging, strategic marketing and certain promotion activities.
Global Brand Marketing, a privately-held Santa Barbara company with over 200 employees, is the fastest growing multi-branded footwear company in the industry with global footwear licenses for Diesel, XOXO, Nautica and Mecca, and ownership of Dry-Shod. Founded in 1996 by Chairman and CEO Killick Datta, GBMI was named 2002 Company of the Year by Footwear News.
"I truly respect Pony's long heritage in the athletic industry and look forward to building the brand to its proper global potential," said Killick Datta, Chief Executive Officer of Global Brand Marketing, Inc. "This is an incredible opportunity and partnering with The Firm is an ideal and natural choice for GBMI."
The Firm headquartered in Beverly Hills, Calif., is the largest entertainment and brand management company with clients that include Vin Diesel, Robert De Niro, Cameron Diaz, Limp Bizkit, Korn, Dixie Chicks and Enrique Iglesias. The Firm merged with Artist Management Group in 2002 to become the largest talent management company in music, film and television. In addition, The Firm owns 50% of Virgin Drinks N.A. in partnership with Richard Branson.
The Firm originally acquired the rights to the then-dormant Pony brand in 2001. The Firm, which was previously 100 percent owner of Pony International, Inc., will receive a substantial cash component as well as retain a significant equity interest in Pony International, LLC. As part of the transaction GBMI acquired a majority interest in Pony International, LLC.
"We understand how to reach and connect with the all important 18-35 year old audience. We have only begun to build Pony as a global brand. We could not have picked a better partner in Killick Datta and his team at GBMI to lead us in this endeavor," said Jeff Kwatinetz, Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Firm.
Pony was founded in 1972 and quickly became one of the athletic brands of influence in the world, reaching over eight hundred million dollars of volume by the mid-eighties. Pony always had the distinctive position of a great logo, great styling, and edgy positioning. The athletes who wore Pony were always at the top of their game; names like Wilt Chamberlain, Pele, Muhammed Ali, Earl Campbell, John Havlicek, Dan Marino, Reggie Jackson, Larry Holmes to name a few.
Firm executives Dave Baram and Steve Bannon, who were architects of the transaction with GBMI, will sit with Jeff Kwatinetz on the Pony International Executive Committee along with Killick Datta and other executives from GBMI. "After an extensive review of all potential strategic partners we concluded that Killick Datta and GBMI was the perfect company with which to partner," said Steve Bannon.
The Spring/Summer 2004 collection will retain the athletic history and mystique of the brand while mixing it with a gritty street vibe. The new collection will be presented at GBMI's global sales conference in June 2003 in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Founded in late 1996 by Killick Datta, Global Brand Marketing, Inc. is the authorized global licensee of Diesel Footwear, XOXO Footwear, Nautica Footwear and Mecca Footwear and owner of Pony International, LLC and Dry-Shod. Based in Santa Barbara, CA, GBMI designs, develops and markets stylish footwear for men, women and children, and is distributed in over 130 countries worldwide. For further information on GBMI, please contact 805/562-5600.
About The Firm
The Firm is the largest entertainment artist and brand management firm with clients from across music, film and television including Vin Diesel, Leonardo Di Caprio, Cameron Diaz, Limp Bizkit, Korn, Dixie Chicks and Enrique Iglesias among others. The Firm leverages its unique access to the youth demographic with the Brand Management division which has ownership interests in Pony International, LLC and Virgin Drinks N.A. The Firm also develops intellectual property through the Film & Television Production group.
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