Reports suggest Authentic Brands Group Inc. is due to bet big on Becks via a majority stake in his brand management company, DB Ventures LLC.
UPDATE 2/25: This article was originally published on Jan. 4 with reports of the impending sale. Authentic Brands Group and David Beckham confirmed that it had purchased half of DB Ventures to CNBC on Feb. 24. Final details of the sale are not available at this time.
The Daily Mail’s report of a done deal, which was subsequently picked up by numerous major outlets, was initially disputed to Boardroom by an ABG spokesperson, who stated that the company “does not currently have a partnership with DB Ventures.”
The former England and Manchester United icon retired from professional soccer in 2013, but has continued to work with companies like H&M, Adidas, Diageo, and L’Oreal. DB Ventures LLC controls his endorsement deals with Tudor watches and Haig, a whiskey company. Last year, Beckham bought a modest stake in Cellular Goods, which sells cannabis-based skincare products, that valued the company at $20 million.
(Recreational use of cannabis is still illegal in Beckham’s native UK, but the government notably allows cannabis companies that create medicinal products to float on London’s Stock Exchange.)
The Daily Mail’s report comes as Authentic Brands Group (ABG) has increasingly made major moves across multiple industries. They purchased Reebok for $2.46 billion in August of 2021; other brands within their portfolio include Forever 21, Aeropostale, Barneys New York, Brooks Brothers, and Sports Illustrated. The company already controls branding rights for Shaquille O’Neal (also a major ABG investor) and legends like Muhammad Ali and Elvis Presley while additionally operating fashion brand Juicy Couture.
ABG initially filed for an IPO in July of last year, but decided to delay those plans after it received investments from CVC Capital Partners and HPS Investment Partners in November. The deal between CVC and HPS Investment Partners values Authentic Brands at $12.7 billion.
ABG’s target date for an IPO is now 2023 or 2024. And when that day comes, it’s possible that they’ll have one of the biggest, most recognizable stars in the world’s most popular sport firmly in their corner.