Briefing: Oct. 7, 2022

This week’s industry news was dominated by Kanye West. One of those stories: In the wake of Gap, Inc. and Yeezy terminating their deal, West’s long-running partnership with adidas is on the rocks, with the German giant revealing on Thurs. that “after repeated efforts to privately resolve the situation, we have taken the decision to place the partnership under review.” While adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted said this summer that the Yeezy venture has had “a tremendous impact” for adidas on a global scale, the company said this week that it “recognize[s] that all successful partnerships are rooted in mutual respect and shared values.”

In connection with the deal, which is slated to run through 2030, West licenses the Yeezy brand name to adidas in exchange for reported royalties of 15% of the sales of Yeezy products. Various IP registrations, such as this design patent, indicate that adidas designs and maintains ownership of the footwear at play.

A design patent for a Yeezy sneaker design

(In other Kanye-related revelations, the rapper stated in an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Thursday that Thrive Capital has reportedly amassed a 10% stake in Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS brand. The Joshua Kushner-founded fund has been a key backer of the 3-year-old apparel and shapewear company, notably leading a $154 million Series A round that closed in April 2021, and participating in a $240 million Series B in February, which was led by Lone Pine Capital. The size of Thrive’s stake was previously not made public. West said that he has a 5% stake in the company.)

In web3 news, on the heels of recently making its metaverse debut (via Roblox), Walmart is hosting a 3-day virtual music festival within Walmart Land this weekend. “For the first time on Roblox, Walmart will be hosting a music festival experience featuring three of the world’s top musicians, Madison Beer, Kane Brown, and YUNGBLUD, to offer users an immersive concert experience from the comfort of home,” the company said this week. The retail titan is the latest company to look to tap into the 52 million daily users on the Roblox platform and enable them to “engage and interact with all the top items everybody wants from Walmart – in a virtual way.” (It follows in the footsteps of other big-name brands, such as Nike and Gucci, which boast spaces on the Roblox platform.)

On the trademark front, Puma landed an unsurprising win in an EUIPO opposition proceeding over a Chinese manufacturer’s application for a stylized PUMN logo. (You can find the opposition decision here.) And Thom Browne is pushing back against an SDNY magistrate judge’s unfavorable recommendation and report in its 3-stripe fight against adidas. More to come on this soon. Here’s the objection in the meantime.

A side-by-side of PUMA's logo and a similar PUMN logo

In recent deal-making newsNaver Corp will acquire resale platform Poshmark for $1.2 billion in a deal that values Poshmark at about $1.6 billion, including about $580 million of cash reserves. The Seongnam-based internet conglomerate, which owns South Korean’s top search engine, will pay $17.90 in cash for all of Poshmark’s issued and outstanding shares (notably less than the $42 per share that Redwood City, California-headquartered Poshmark priced its January 2021 IPO). The deal is expected to prompt more consolidation in the secondary market segment, particularly as brands continue to make inroads.

Fendi has taken a majority stake in Italian knitwear company Maglificio Matisse, a long-time supplier for the LVMH-owned brand, as well as other similarly-situated brands.

– Swiss jewelry and watch manufacturer Bucherer has acquired Adresta AG, a Swiss tech startup that develops blockchain-based digital certificates for luxury goods.

Seamm, the digital fashion platform “where real-life fashion brands can create new digital collections and enrich their clothes with new digital experiences, like wearing them in metaverses and video games,” has raised $1.7 million in a new round.