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Marchpole to design DKNY menswear apparel line
Aug '08
Marchpole Holdings plc and Donna Karan International Inc announce that they have entered into a joint venture and strategic licensing agreement under which Marchpole will source, design, produce and distribute a full range of DKNY menswear apparel with the active involvement of DKI in New York.

The Spring 2009 seasonal collection, which will carry the DKNY Black Label, will be the first collection offered by Marchpole under this agreement. This line, which will be targeted for the bridge or 'second line' market, will be offered to high-end department and speciality stores in addition to DKNY's extensive retail network, including approximately 60 DKNY free-standing stores globally.

The sportswear portion of the DKNY men's apparel line will be distributed in North America, Europe, Africa, the South Pacific, Middle East and Asia. The agreement is for an initial period of seven years, with an option to extend the licence for an additional seven years. A new company ('Newco') has been formed to carry on the business of the joint venture between Marchpole and DKI.

Newco will be owned initially as to 90 per cent. by Marchpole and as to 10 per cent. by DKI. DKI's holding may be increased to 15 per cent. in year three and to 20 per cent. in year seven upon the exercise of warrants which it will hold over Newco shares. Newco's shareholder's agreement contains a put option which will give DKI the right to require Marchpole to buy all of its holding in Newco (in the event of a change of control at Marchpole) at a price to be determined by an independent valuer at that time.

Michael Morris, Executive Deputy Chairman of Marchpole commented: 'I am delighted that we have reached this agreement with the very prestigious Donna Karan International, part of the Louis Vuitton Group and that we will have the opportunity to expand our business in the highly lucrative Far East and Middle East markets. The DKNY brand is recognised worldwide as one of the leading international lifestyle fashion collections and is a wonderful addition to our collection of luxury fashion brands.

The Board believes that this joint venture is a great endorsement of Marchpole's expertise in the fashion brand management industry and we look forward to the next stage of the Company's development, delivering growth and better shareholder value over the medium to long term.'

Mark Weber, Chairman and CEO of DKI said, 'This joint venture agreement reflects our ongoing commitment to expanding our men's product lines, and marks the next step in the evolution of our business. Since joining DKI, I have been keenly aware of the real opportunity that exists to build the DKNY brand and capture the enormous potential in the men's bridge market. We are confident that Marchpole will be a good partner for us as we grow our merchandise mix, pursuing our objective of a complete men's lifestyle brand.'

Mark Weber will join the board of this new joint venture. Tisha Kalberer, Chief Financial Officer of DKI, will also have a non-voting position on the joint venture's board. DKI and Marchpole have also agreed to appoint an independent director, Gene Rothkopf, of the US-based firm, Jassin O'Rourke to the board of the joint venture. Jassin O'Rourke acted as advisors to Marchpole. The other directors of the joint venture's board are Michael Morris and Chris Phillips of Marchpole.

Marchpole Holdings plc

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