Iconix Brand Group, Inc. Q1 2008 Earnings Call Transcript

May. 5.08 | About: Iconix Brand (ICON)

Iconix Brand Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ICON)

Q1 2008 Earnings Call

May 1, 2008 10:00 am ET

Executives

Neil Cole - Chairman of the Board, President & Chief Executive Officer

David Conn - Executive Vice President

Warren Clamen - Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Todd Slater – Lazard Capital Markets

Robert Drbul – Lehman Brothers

Virginia Genereux – Merrill Lynch

Eric Beder – Brean Murray, Caret & Co.

Ronald Bookbinder – Global Hunter Securities, LLC

Mark Kaufman – MLK Investment Management

Sean Naughton – Piper Jaffray

Amy Bloom – Stanfield Capital Partners

Barbara Miller – Federated Investors

Operator

Good day ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Iconix Brand Group first quarter 2008 earnings conference call. My name is Clarissa and I will be your coordinator for today. At this time all participants are in a listen only mode. We will be facilitating a question-and-answer session towards the end of this conference. (Operator Instructions)

At this time I will review the Safe Harbor statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The statements that are not historical facts contained in this conference call are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors all of which are difficult or impossible to predict and many of which are beyond the control of the company. This may cause the actual results, performances or achievements of the company to be materially different from the results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. The words believe, anticipate, expect, confident and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. Listeners are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements which speak only as of the date the statement was made.

I would now like to turn the presentation over to your host for today’s call, Mr. Neil Cole, Chief Executive Officer; David Conn, Executive Vice President; and Mr. Warren Clamen, Chief Financial Officer.

Warren Clamen

Good morning everyone and welcome to the Iconix Brand Group first quarter 2008 earnings conference call. Reviewing our results for the first quarter ended March 31st, 2008 revenue increased approximately 81% to approximately $65.7 million as compared to $30.8 million in the prior year quarter. EBITDA increased approximately 66% to approximately $38.8 million as compared to approximately $23.3 million in the prior year quarter and free cash flow increased to approximately $32.3 million as compared to $21.6 million in the prior year quarter. Net income increased over 43% to approximately $18.2 million as compared to approximately $12.7 million in the prior year quarter and diluted earnings per share increased to $0.30 as compared to $0.21 in the prior year quarter. EBITDA and free cash flow are both non-GAAP metrics and reconciliation tables for each can be found in the press release sent out earlier this morning or on our website, www.IconixBrand.com.

Our EBITDA margins were approximately 70% for the quarter. The company recorded approximately $2.1 million in non-cash compensation expense in the quarter related primarily to the new employment agreement the company entered into with our CEO. In the quarter we benefited slightly from lower interest expense on our term loan facility which was at a rate of approximately 7% for the quarter and is now set at approximately 5% for the next quarter. The company’s current weighted average cost for all debt outstanding now stands at approximately 4.4%. At the end of the quarter we had approximately $56 million in cash on hand as well as the potential availability of an additional $37 million in funds from our term loan facility.

I will now turn the call over to David Conn, Executive Vice President of Iconix Brand Group.

David Conn

Good morning everyone. In looking at the performance of our brands in the quarter we are pleased with the overall results. The retail environment was challenging which impacted the performance of some of our brands. However, there were also a number of growth stories in our portfolio that balanced our results and demonstrated the resilience of our business model and the benefits of our increasingly diverse portfolio and licensee base.

In looking at our direct to retail brands sales of Mossimo at Target and Candies at Kohls were a little soft and we attribute this to the weak sales both of those retailers experienced in the quarter. However sales of Joe Boxer at Kmart have been strong driven by the core women’s products and our roll out at Sears is picking up momentum and they will now be launching Joe Boxer junior apparel for spring of 2009. Sales of Danskin Now at Wal-Mart were down during a process of strategically repositioning the brand but this process is now complete and holiday orders for Danskin Now are double what they were a year ago.

Our Starter brand is currently sold primarily to Wal-Mart through license agreements with a number of different wholesalers. However we are working to convert this to a direct to retail license with Wal-Mart which we believe will position it for growth similar to our OP model. Sales of Starter were up in the quarter driven by the core men’s active wear business. Our OP brand has launched at Wal-Mart and the early results are very exciting. A collaborative effort between Wal-Mart, many third party vendors and Iconix has delivered trend right products at Wal-Mart low prices and our multi-celebrity advertising campaign featuring six leading young stars including Corbin Bleu, Kristin Cavallari and Rumer Willis which we released last week has generated tremendous excitement and publicity. The product is currently in over 1,000 Wal-Mart stores.

In looking at our wholesale brands London Fog continues to perform well in its core department store distribution at retailers like Macys, Nordstrom and Dillards. The Rocawear men’s business was a little soft in the quarter. However the women’s and kids’ businesses are on track and the Rocawear footwear business is up significantly year-to-date. We are anticipating strong sales in the back half of the year for the Rocawear brand as we launch the first ever Rocawear fragrance which is being supported by a significant advertising commitment from our licensee Elizabeth Arden. Our Rampage brand is on track for the year and our new denim licensee is continuing to gain greater penetration within the core department store base.

Our Badgley Mischka brand continued to grow and had strong performance in the quarter in its core platinum dress business. We are currently working on new license agreements for Badgley Mischka in India and the Middle East. Our junior denim brands, Bongo and Mudd, continue to face challenging market conditions in their core denim businesses. However the footwear businesses for both brands are very strong and growing.

We are pleased with the progress of our home brands. Royal Velvet is launching in Bed, Bath & Beyond this month and will be quickly rolling out to all 800 plus Bed, Bath & Beyond doors. We are supporting the launch with an exciting new advertising campaign featuring a major Hollywood celebrity that we are announcing next week. Our new direct to retail license for the Canon brand at Kmart and Sears is moving ahead faster than we had originally anticipated with a soft launch this fall followed by the major launch next spring. Our Fieldcrest brand has been successfully repositioned by Target as Fieldcrest Luxury and the brand is now in all major soft home categories and performing very well. Our Charisma brand continues to perform well at Bloomingdales and as we develop a new Charisma Couture line of more expensive product for them we are also exploring ways to increase sales and expand the distribution of the brand.

I will now turn the call over to Iconix’s Chairman and CEO, Neil Cole.

Neil Cole

Good morning everybody. While this has clearly been one of the most challenging retail and economic environments that I can remember I am pleased with our performance in the quarter and that we were able to increase our revenue by 80% and earnings 40% year-over-year. While we are not entirely immune to the deterioration of retail I believe that we have continued to demonstrate the benefits of our business model. We are contractually guaranteed revenue, no inventory risk and diversification mitigate our downside in difficult markets.

Furthermore we have been focused on developing and growing our brands organically. I am pleased with the progress we have made on a number of different fronts which I would like to spend some time discussing. A component of our organic growth strategy is expanding our brands around the world and earlier this morning we announced that we have entered into a definitive agreement to form an exciting joint venture in China with Novel Fashion Holdings. Novel is owned and run by Silas Chou who is a very well known and respected entrepreneur in both China and the United States. In the United States he is best known for his ownership of the Tommy Hilfiger brand and building that business from $25 million when he bought it in 1989 to over $2 billion in sales. Today he is the majority owner and Co-Chair of Michael Kors. In China Novel is one of the largest vertically integrated apparel manufacturers. Silas is an ideal partner for this venture based on his unique knowledge and contacts in both the domestic Chinese market as well as in the US fashion industry.

Iconix China will be an equal joint venture that will be based in Hong Kong with Iconix contributing the rights to its trademarks in China and Novel capitalizing the company with an investment of $20 million. Iconix will also make an investment of $5 million. The strategy behind Iconix China will be to identify local operating partners with the potential to go public and provide them with one of our brands and brand management and marketing support in exchange for an equity stake in their companies. While there will be some royalty revenue the primary focus of this venture will be obtaining equity in strong Chinese companies that have the ability to go public in a short period of time.

This is a different business model than we have employed in the United States. However it is similar in that we will not be an operator and will focus on entirely on marketing and brand management. A large part of the success at Iconix in the US has been driven by the fact that we have created an innovative new business model that was more efficient in this market. I believe that our business model in China is equally as innovative and ideally tailored to unique and very different dynamics of that rapidly emerging market. We have already identified several viable partners in the region with strong development plans for our brands and I believe that over the next three to five years this joint venture will deliver substantial returns to the Iconix shareholders.

Other international deals we are exploring include an emerging strategy for India which we hope to announce later this year. Our approach in India will likely be a joint venture and we are currently in discussions with three of the largest retail players in that country. We are also working on pan-European licenses for London Fog, Danskin and Starter. We have a Rocawear license that we are close to signing in Brazil and also a Badgley Mischka license that we are working on in the Mideast.

While I am excited about all the above initiatives one of our most compelling organic growth opportunities remains with our three Wal-Mart brands, OP, Danskin Now and Starter. Our launch of OP at Wal-Mart has been extraordinary as both sides have worked together to create what I believe will become one of the largest apparel brands in the world. We are in the process of completing a renewal for our Danskin Now brand with Wal-Mart and that business which has been slow is now picking up and is poised to grow. We are working to convert our

Starter brand into a direct to retail license with Wal-Mart and we have several exciting growth strategies in the works including major athletic endorsements and license team sports product. If we execute and maximize this opportunity it is my belief that these three brands could generate between $3 to $5 billion in annual retail sales within a few years’ time.

I would now like to discuss our current view on acquisitions and how it relates to our guidance for this year. As you are aware acquisitions have been and will continue to be a key part of our growth strategy. There are currently a number of acquisition opportunities that we are evaluating. Based on the current external market conditions we believe we have entered into an opportunistic time period for the company where we can be very selective in both timing and execution of these transactions as we have established ourselves as one of the few strategic buyers of great brands. While we are confident that we will be able to complete acquisitions this year we will not force deals or do acquisitions that are not in our best long term interest. We are maintaining our current 2008 guidance of revenue between $250 and $260 million and earnings per share of between $1.35 and $1.40. This guidance however is predicated on having approximately $30 million in new acquisition revenue that falls into the remainder of the year.

Long term we are continuing to build what is a very unique and exciting company with fast growth potential. This is a company that in three years has assembled a portfolio of 16 different consumer brands that today control over $6 billion in market share with over 220 licensees worldwide including many of the world’s largest retailers. I continue to believe that are still in the very early stages of our evolution and that we have an opportunity to create a multi-billion dollar highly diversified global company that will continue to deliver profits and growth to our shareholders.

Thank you all very much for listening and I’d like to now open it up to a question-and-answer.

Question-And-Answer Session

Operator

(Operator Instructions) Your first question comes from Todd Slater – Lazard Capital Markets.

Todd Slater – Lazard Capital Markets

Neil, first to you, you said that you’re confident you can make acquisitions this year but that you won’t force the deals and the bare case is that you just can’t the financing due the seizing up of the market. My question is, is it more an issue of not forcing a deal or is it more of an issue of getting adequate financing? I guess that’s what people would like to hear.

Neil Cole

Todd, first of all the company has between our cash on hand of $56 million in our term facility, another $37 million on top of that we’re cash flowing it over $25 million free cash flow per quarter. So depending on the timing the company has access to well over between $100 and $200 million of capital and we have tested the financing market and there is financing for the right deals. We’re very confident that with the right deals financing is available.

Todd Slater – Lazard Capital Markets

Just to hit the numbers the mentioned, the $30 million of acquisition revenues, it sounds to me like a $60 million or so annualized which sounds like $300 million. You’ve got about $100 million in liquidity so maybe a little bit more than that with some of the free cash flow so it’s looking like a couple hundred million, in that range. You feel confident that you can get that kind of credit if necessary?

Neil Cole

Yes, very confident. We have been working on two or three deals that we’re pretty far down the road and we’re very confident that they’re financeable.

Todd Slater – Lazard Capital Markets

My second question is if you can give us a little bit more revenue direction with, you have a major portfolio brand like 16, 17, 18, whatever the number of brands and maybe give us a better sense revenues up or down in some of the major pieces. You mentioned some were soft or some were above or below but not relative to LY. Maybe give us a sense of how the brands are doing versus LY’s.

Neil Cole

Having a portfolio of 16 brands within Iconix and one within [Sion], there’s definitely a mixed bag being a portfolio approach. There’s definitely excitement as we mentioned in the call around what’s happening with OP and Starter and how good business is starting to be at Wal-Mart with the new team there and how Iconix is engaged. Also excited about Royal Velvet and what’s happening in our big program with Bed, Bath, all the stores in the last two weeks and it’s performing wonderfully. Basically across the portfolio it goes with the store, with Target being a little off, Mossimo is a little off. With Kohls having a little softness, Candies has had a little softness. Looking at a portfolio approach we’re still confident that organic will be probably in the mid-single digits this year from an organic point of view but generally there’s a lot of shining stars in the portfolio and there’s definitely some weakness in this challenging retail environment.

Todd Slater – Lazard Capital Markets

Was organic in the mid-single digit range all in, in the first quarter?

Neil Cole

Roughly. There are a lot of programs that started in the middle of the quarter, etc. But we’re on plan for the year and we’re pretty confident that the organic business is strong.

Operator

Your next question comes from Robert Drbul – Lehman Brothers.

Robert Drbul – Lehman Brothers

A question for either Neil or even Warren, when we go back to the acquisition growth that you’re incorporating in this guidance today, when you give the guidance of the $1.35 to $1.40, what sort of interest rate or interest expense are you planning for the year in that guidance? And following on that, can you let us know what the share count expectation is for the full year guidance that you’re giving us?

Neil Cole

The share count, it obviously depends on how we would finance the acquisition but currently we’re looking at around 62 to 63 million shares and the interest rate in there has fluctuated but because LIBOR has come down we put it in I would say the 6% to 8% range. But it really depends. We’re getting different pricing. It depends on what type of debt it is.

Warren Clamen

But also my question is the current financing, the all-in financing today is around 4.5% to 5%.

David Conn

Right, our weighted our ratio.

Warren Clamen

Today’s financing is about 4.4%. And the term facility that we can still draw on, the $37 million is at L+2.25.

Robert Drbul – Lehman Brothers

A couple on the Wal-Mart business, on the Ocean Pacific I think David said in about 1,000 stores, what’s the game plan for the rest of the year in terms of the roll out, both domestically and you had mentioned some international opportunities with that business. Can you elaborate on that as well?

Neil Cole

What’s so exciting about it, today it’s apparel in 1,000 doors but what’s adding is now footwear is going on for 1,000 doors, swimwear and it’s all starting to roll in. A lot of the other products are in somewhere between 300 to 500 but by the end of May we should be in all of the key 1,000 doors and we’re hoping to expand that slowly over the next 12 months and hopefully get to 2,000 or 3,000 doors down the road.

As far as international we’re going to be starting up with Canada, is going to be the first roll out and that’s going to happen in the June-July period getting ready for a full roll out in fall. Mexico is signed on for spring 09 and we’re now working with the UK and other Wal-Mart subsidiaries so we’re pretty excited it’s going to be a worldwide initiative based on our initial successes. There seems to be a real energy happening with Wal-Mart across the world.

Robert Drbul – Lehman Brothers

The final question is on Starter, what really has to happen when you convert this to direct to retail? Are there obstacles to doing that or what’s the timing on when you think that can be sewn up?

Neil Cole

It’s going to happen over the next probably 30 days. But it’s business as usual because most of the same suppliers that were present licensees are going to be handling most of this supply good. We are going to be adding a few more. However it will be a seamless integration and will just give us a lot of growth in a lot of new categories like we’ve done with OP.

Operator

Your next question comes from Virginia Genereux – Merrill Lynch.

Virginia Genereux – Merrill Lynch

Neil, how are OP sell throughs doing? Because there’s been some question as to Wal-Mart’s ability to do this stuff historically. How are sell throughs?

Neil Cole

Great. Really great. And what’s wonderful it’s Wal-Mart. The new Wal-Mart team is really focused on the product and I’d love everyone to go in the stores. The product is sensational and the quality and the price value is really very impressive and the sell throughs have been extraordinary.

Virginia Genereux – Merrill Lynch

Following on Bob’s Starter question, what is the economic impact? I would guess that Starter, if it was an $18 million run rate, it’s got to come in a little bit, revenue wise, Neil to transition to retail.

Neil Cole

We’re thinking we can grow it. We’ve got a good base, the brand does about $400 million today and we truly believe we have the opportunity to make it over $1 billion. I was down there this week with the whole Wal-Mart team and the Starter team and it’s really exciting what’s happening there. To be the number one sports brand in the number one volume retailer in the world, we think the potential is definitely one of the biggest in our portfolio and we’re pretty excited about the ability to hopefully more than double what we have today.

Virginia Genereux – Merrill Lynch

I’m thinking that it’s a business that is half the size of the Mossimo business and $18 million isn’t a lot less than what the Target guys are paying you. Is there a different structure?

Neil Cole

It’s a different royalty structure.

Virginia Genereux – Merrill Lynch

Warren, when you said, I think you said that the weighted average interest expense on the debt is 4.4% - 4.5% right now? Is that what you said?

Warren Clamen

Yes, for this quarter, going into Q2. The term facility in Q1 because it’s variable was about 7% and going into Q2 it’s about 5%.

Virginia Genereux – Merrill Lynch

You’re including the convert in that, that’s what’s taking that down, right?

Warren Clamen

Absolutely, yes. Correct.

Virginia Genereux – Merrill Lynch

What about the change in convert accounting? Do you guys then have to, as you understand it, do you have to treat the debt component as straight debt? Should we expect a GAAP EPS impact coming out of this year?

Warren Clamen

It’s not ratified yet, but if it would be ratified in the state that it’s written now, it would only begin to affect our earnings starting in January 2009 and we would have to treat it as straight debt but the difference would be non-cash interest so it would be the increased interest that we’d have to record would be non-cash. But it would only begin in January 2009.

Virginia Genereux – Merrill Lynch

Our understanding is FASB that that’s probably a pretty good likelihood. Right? Is that your alls?

Warren Clamen

Yes, it probably is a pretty good likelihood but you never know until it’s ratified.

Neil Cole

I’d say in the next quarter when we usually put out year guidance in our third quarter we would, if it was today we would definitely put that number into our 09 plan.

Virginia Genereux – Merrill Lynch

There isn’t any plan to refinance that convert? Because it’s still, as you say, it’s a great cash interest rate, right?

Warren Clamen

Exactly. The economics don’t change. Exactly. No matter what happens to the FASB.

Virginia Genereux – Merrill Lynch

Lastly, Neil, it sounds like you must feel confident enough about your ability to close these prospective acquisitions to maintain that in your outlook for the year.

Neil Cole

Yes, exactly.

Operator

Your next question comes from Eric Beder – Brean Murray.

Eric Beder – Brean Murray, Caret & Co.

Could you talk a little bit about conceptually how and when we should start thinking about China and how it’s going to in terms of hitting the income statement for 08 or 09? How is this going to flow through the income statement?

David Conn

It’s a long term opportunity and it’s one that we are incredibly excited about. There will be royalty revenue flowing into it. We have a London Fog license agreement in China, OP is licensed to Wal-Mart and then Royal Velvet and Canon are licensed to Li & Fung and there could be royalty revenue with other deals in the future but that’s not the focus. The focus here and what’s so exciting is equity. It’s an emerging market with incredible potential and our partner we have what we think is the perfect partner for the region and you’ve got what will be up to 700 million emerging middle class Chinese consumers and there’s just not a lot of brands that are over there today for that consumer. So we think this is an opportunity that down the road could be a $1 billion company one day and we’re very, very excited about it.

Neil Cole

Also, Eric, I’ll add we definitely weighed the options of doing some traditional licensing in China and in looking at it we would have had to put a lot of people on the ground there and try to enforce trademarks which is not that easy unless you have a strong team over there and also to get paid. Here we have this investment, it’s definitely going to take a couple of years but we think it could just be so phenomenal and so important and in looking at some of the people that have built $1 billion brands the last three to five years it’s people that have gone inner China and not just opened up a couple of stores in Hong Kong to say they have a China strategy. We’ve aligned with we think one, if not the top, entrepreneur who understands both markets and we believe we’re going to have incredible equity stakes in great companies and a wonderful play for Iconix.

Eric Beder – Brean Murray, Caret & Co.

Let’s talk a little about acquisition strategy, you historically you talked before about going to home goods, doing sporting goods and you accomplished that last year. Now that you’ve gotten this flow is the acquisition strategy just for best brands or is there a focus that you’re still putting on in terms of industries or product categories?

Neil Cole

It’s always been the best iconic brand with the most solid royalty flow that we know is there and has good credit and that’s how we look at it. We look at great iconic brands that have powerful royalty flows that have growth potential where Iconix could add value with its marketing and branding skills and today we have a pretty diverse pipeline and we’re going to move on the ones that make sense that we think are the best long term brands for the company to add on.

Eric Beder – Brean Murray, Caret & Co.

Finally any updates on the Bongo lawsuit?

Neil Cole

We are under appeal and we think it’s moving a little quicker and hopefully we’ll have a decision where we can enforce our judgment by the end of the year.

Operator

Your next question comes from Ronald Bookbinder – Global Hunter.

Ronald Bookbinder – Global Hunter Securities, LLC

Starting with acquisitions you had commented that you had been moving to large and larger deals, could you give us a sense of the size of the deals that you’re looking at?

Neil Cole

We’re looking at a couple of very large deals that have royalties that some of them are well over $100 million and there is some great opportunities out there and some great prices and we’re also looking at a lot of them that have been in our sweet spot of $40 to $50 million on our Rocawear and Pillowtex. It’s a pretty diverse, there’s so many great opportunities right now that’s happening and we’re seeing a pretty diverse group in the pipeline but we are definitely, what’s taking is a little longer is we are looking at larger deals going forward.

Ronald Bookbinder – Global Hunter Securities, LLC

On China the existing China licenses have been folded into the joint venture, is that going to affect the US Iconix revenue stream?

David Conn

No, it’s going to flow into the JV, Ron and as Neil mentioned it’s a different world over there and the team that we’re going to have on the ground over there as far as their ability to make things happen and force our trademarks and build the brands in a very, very different part of the world our belief is just that they’re going to be much more successful than if we tried to manage it out of New York.

Neil Cole

But there was no royalty planned in the present projections for China, so in giving up 50% we weren’t giving up any.

Ronald Bookbinder – Global Hunter Securities, LLC

Now how are you going to monetize these deals in China that the joint venture is going to have equity in?

David Conn

Our belief is that the companies are going to go public. We’ve already identified a few partners, there aren’t any deals in place yet but the criteria is going to be identifying very strong local Chinese operating companies that we believe could go public in a short period of time and there will be monetizations as the different companies go public and down the road one day Iconix China maybe goes public. That could be the ultimate form of monetization.

Neil Cole

In a lot of the early days, we’re in the middle of negotiating six of them right now, we’re also going side by side into the deals with either private equity or venture capital and therefore there’s someone there monitoring who’s also looking at a time period of roughly let’s say two to four years to monetize and we have good finance people going in side by side with us who Silas has put together with his team. Part of the strategy is obviously monetization and making sure that we don’t get minority stakes or how it works. We are focused on making sure that they are monetized.

Ronald Bookbinder – Global Hunter Securities, LLC

But if you sold your equity stake in one of these investments, they would still have the rights to the brand, correct?

Neil Cole

If someone buys our stake in each of the brands, definitely if we sold them.

Ronald Bookbinder – Global Hunter Securities, LLC

Moving on to Wal-Mart could you talk about how many categories OP is in and how many categories you believe it could expand to over the next two years? And then do the same with Starter?

Neil Cole

It was a pretty aggressive launch across the whole store where you could find us today in men’s, women’s, kids, accessories, footwear, pretty much in all. Some of the opportunities down the road which we don’t have today are home, fragrance and possibly some hard lines so we pretty much got all the soft goods and there is other small expansion down the road in some of the other categories. Starter today is pretty focused on mostly the men’s sportswear area and the boy’s active group. We do see a lot of expansion, in our presentation down there this week we also have a big sock program but we have a major footwear launch which we think alone could be close to $100 million and we also have looking at some hard goods like inflatables and other product categories and looking at intimate apparel or layering pieces. So I think we’re in OP, we’re probably penetrated about 90%. In Starter, we’re probably about 50%, 60% with a lot of growth.

Operator

Your next question comes from Virginia Genereux – Merrill Lynch.

Virginia Genereux – Merrill Lynch

Just a follow up on the China structure, can you guys give me an example, David, what would be structure with these partners that would go public? You would be trying to find, I don’t know, companies like little mini Iconixes?

David Conn

No, operating companies like our licensees here in the US. If it was for Rampage we would look to find an incredible women’s sportswear company over there that we thought had ability to go public in a short period of time and as Neil said, we’d be taking equity alongside a private equity firm or venture capital firm over there. Iconix China would be the company that would be giving them the brand management and the marketing support to help them with an expectation that they go public within a few years.

Virginia Genereux – Merrill Lynch

So the analogy would be you’d be getting equity stakes in your wholesale licensees?

David Conn

Correct, yes.

Neil Cole

Some of them are retailers. There’s a huge amount of retail chains that are 100, 200 stores. Entrepreneurial chains that are starting to happen and we would get equity stakes whether it be in the wholesale or the retail of the Chinese companies.

Virginia Genereux – Merrill Lynch

Right and then they take of care of trademark enforcement, right?

Neil Cole

No, actually we would. Silas has put together a team in Hong Kong that will be working on trademark enforcement out of Iconix China.

David Conn

Virginia, it’s different in terms of it’s a different model in terms of how we’re going to actually monetize the brands but our core competency is the same. We’re going to be focusing not on operating on brand management and marketing which is what we do.

Operator

Your next question comes from Mark Kaufman – MLK Investment Management.

Mark Kaufman – MLK Investment Management

Again I’m asking a similar question that was just asked about the nature of the Chinese venture, specifically these companies over there would be selling your brands or would it also entail their selling of their own brands and you obviously investing in them?

Neil Cole

A little bit of both. In some of the deals we’re doing it’s going to be with very successful companies and we’re going to set up Newco with our brands whether it be a Mossimo or a Candies and another couple of deals we’re looking at we’re going to own a piece of their current businesses that are doing well. Each deal probably of the 16 and hopefully 20 and 30 and 40 deals we will be looking at differently and trying to get as much equity in what we think are the successful businesses. And what’s happening over there today, there is an amazing amount of young entrepreneurs in their 30s and 40s that are starting to explode across the country and we see just so many different good opportunities and they’re all looking for an American brand for legitimacy and they all know about what Silas has done over the last 20 or 30 years so we’re getting so many great companies that want to join Iconix China. The other strategy is we don’t only see with our 16 brands today and hopefully our 20, 30, 40 down the road, we’ve been approached by other brands that would want to join Iconix China and help us monetize their brands throughout China. We see it as a big strategy and something that could be very exciting for us.

David Conn

Mark, I would add we might also look to acquire brands in the region whether it was other agent brands that we felt had a lot of opportunity in the Chinese market or if there were local Chinese brands. As we’ve been acquisitive here that’s an opportunity for the JV as well.

Mark Kaufman – MLK Investment Management

That’s what I was wondering, how broad it is. It sounds very interesting. One other question as it relates to your other potential acquisitions, would it be in line, I think you touched on this before, lines that you’re currently in the junior’s business or the sportswear business or the home or are you thinking about broadening out to other potential lines?

Neil Cole

We’re looking at a lot of deals within our, that we’ve done in the past and we’ve also looked at a few in other areas that are phenomenal iconic brands that have great royalty flows with great retailers but it’s a little of both or maybe more where we’ve been. But there’s also a couple of really exciting brands outside in new territory.

Operator

Your next question comes from Sean Naughton – Piper Jaffray.

Sean Naughton – Piper Jaffray

With the mid-tier challenging that whole environment, the Penneys and Kohls and mentioning of Bongo and Mudd suffering a little bit in that particular area, can you talk about are their floor space losses that are happening as those particular brands move more towards private/exclusive labels or is it just weakness in the categories in terms of traffic?

Neil Cole

I think it’s just generally weakness across the stores. What’s happened with people like Kohls and Target and Candies and Mossimo, these are great, great retailers that the consumer is difficult as we all read every day ad nauseum but we do believe it’s going to come back, whether it be for fall or whether it be after the election. These are great retailers that are really strong and with their traffic we’ll come back, our businesses. We feel it’s a temporary lull in base consumer products.

Sean Naughton – Piper Jaffray

Quick question on Mudd and Bongo, do you know the percentage of your business that was Mudd and Bongo last year versus what it was the trailing 12 months?

Neil Cole

Very small, and we’re pretty much even. We’re not that far off. We’re had some really good strong footwear businesses in both brands that are both growing.

Sean Naughton – Piper Jaffray

Also on Rocawear, it sounds like Danskin now is going to a pretty big win with quarters up over double of last year, can you talk about how Rocawear as we’re lapping the year anniversary and I think the initial goal was supposed to be close to $43 million a year. Are we close to those targets? I know we mentioned it was soft but what’s the order of magnitude that we’re looking at there?

David Conn

Rocawear in year one was very, very close to our targets. It was just slightly shy and overall the business is good. The core men’s business in the first quarter was a little bit weak but as I mentioned on the call the women’s and the kid’s businesses were fine and our Rocawear footwear business is actually doing incredibly well. Looking to the back half of the year we’ve got this fragrance launch planned and while that in and of itself isn’t, the sales of the fragrance isn’t so material, the amount that they’re spending is and so there’s going to be a lot of marketing support for Rocawear this fall and overall the brand is in a good place. Jay Z is more involved than ever before. He has been wearing the product on his tour and it’s exciting what’s happening with the brand.

Sean Naughton – Piper Jaffray

Stripping out the $2.1 million in non-cash for Q1 for EBITDA I got something around 73%, is that the new run rate or is 75% still the target for margins on that number?

Warren Clamen

We’re going to have that non-cash increased executive comp for the rest of the year. So our run rate will be in the low 70s and obviously as we do acquisitions we will leverage up the EBITDA margins.

Sean Naughton – Piper Jaffray

Finally last question on some of the accounting rule changes outside of the convert but also having to recognize, not being able to capitalize costs associated with acquisitions what is the typical cost associated with doing one acquisition or do you have any idea what the impact of that might be?

Warren Clamen

It’s the costs associated with professional fees, etc. that will have to be capitalized and we’ll just negotiate that and deal with that. It only begins in 2009 so again it doesn’t affect anything in 08 or anything we have done. It will be grandfathered. We’ll obviously do that as it comes.

Sean Naughton – Piper Jaffray

Looking back historically it’s a percentage of the overall deals you’ve being doing like 1%?

Neil Cole

I think that’s fair but basically they very every deal. Some for instance when we bought a public company, Mossimo, it took six or seven months and the costs were a lot higher than when we bought a private company, it went very quickly. I think each of the costs will be different and based on the new rule in 09 when we do acquisitions we’re just going to have to look at them differently and cap the professionals and do some other things to make sure that the costs are in line.

Operator

Your next question comes from Vanessa Miranda – Stanfield Capital Partners.

Amy Bloom – Stanfield Capital Partners

To follow up with your EBITDA margin question your SG&A was up in the quarter. I’m assuming it is from the Starter acquisition. Do you expect it to be at that run rate for the remainder of the year on a percentage of sales basis?

Warren Clamen

Pretty much, that should be on a percentage of sales basis. It should stay pretty constant. We did say we have slight favorability in Q2 and Q4 from an advertising but it should stay basically the same.

Amy Bloom – Stanfield Capital Partners

And that assumes the fragrance launch in I’m assuming the third quarter?

Warren Clamen

Right, the fragrance launch is actually, the licensee is doing the launching so that’s specifically not our advertising costs. That’s the Rocawear licensee that’s actually going to incur those expenses.

Operator

You have a follow up question from Todd Slater – Lazard Capital Markets.

Todd Slater – Lazard Capital Markets

I just wanted to button down the China structure again one last time, is it fair to say that similar to the US Iconix China will have full access to all the IP current and also anything in the future?

Neil Cole

Yes, the feature IP will come in, the JV will have to pay for it based on some sort of a formula and an allocation of the value of the IP in China when we do the acquisition.

Todd Slater – Lazard Capital Markets

So Iconix China then licenses the brands to retailers and wholesalers in an exchange for that -

Neil Cole

No. Let me stop you. Iconix China sells brands for an equity stake in companies that are we think exciting and growing in China and therefore we have ownership and not royalty coming to us.

Todd Slater – Lazard Capital Markets

So they’re only selling them for equity, there is no royalty stream associated with it. They’re not doing a combination?

Neil Cole

Some of the deals we’ve done already prior to this new strategy that we’ve developed with Silas and his team do have royalty. So there will be some royalty that’s happening and possibly the JV might decide to do some royalty but basically the strategy today is to own equity in these companies that are growing so quickly over there and that are monetizing through the [Haing Saing].

Todd Slater – Lazard Capital Markets

So Iconix China is going to be sort of a conglomerate, a mini Warren Buffet if you will, of equity holdings of growth companies in the space in China, retail and wholesale in China?

Neil Cole

That sounds great. Compare us to Warren, we’re there.

Todd Slater – Lazard Capital Markets

And they could eventually monetize through some kind of a listing as well?

Neil Cole

Yes, that would be our goal is to possibly monetize all of the holdings into the future.

Todd Slater – Lazard Capital Markets

And is that the same kind of structure you’re considering for India for example or would that be a different model?

David Conn

Not necessarily, Todd. Right now we’re in talks with three different people in India and we just don’t know the answer to that question yet. It could be something more traditional and licensing based but it could also be similar to what we’re doing in China.

Operator

Your next question comes from Barbara Miller – Federated Investors.

Barbara Miller – Federated Investors

I have one more China question as well just to clarify, when you’re talking about growth companies in China are you talking about the kind of companies that are developing brands just as an example, like a [Li Nang] and then sell them to franchisees that operate stores and they operate their own stores or are you talking about companies that are the franchisees that are operating stores or spaces in China? Can you put any more context to the types of growth companies that you’re actually talking about?

David Conn

Barbara, I think Li Nang is too big a company.

Barbara Miller – Federated Investors

No, I was just using that as an example of a,

David Conn

As Neil mentioned they’re operating companies smaller than Li Nang, a lot of them are already retailers with maybe 50, 100, 200 specialty stores or points of distribution and that’s really the sweet spot. Those are the types of companies we’re looking at.

Barbara Miller – Federated Investors

So they have a brand and a space?

David Conn

They may, they may have brands that they own but Neil also mentioned earlier there’s a desire over there for American brands, Western brands that have more cache and higher perceived value. Approaching companies like that that may have their own brand but would clearly want a Western brand and they have some infrastructure and can bring our brand to market quickly.

Barbara Miller – Federated Investors

So their expertise is maybe the distribution of the brand, you have the brand and there’s a partnership there which is what you’re talking about?

David Conn

Correct, they’re the operators.

Operator

There are no further questions at this time. I’d like to turn the call back over to Mr. Neil Cole for closing remarks.

Neil Cole

Once again, thank you all for your interest and management will be available today if there’s any additional questions. I’ll look forward to speaking to you next quarter. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you for your participation in today’s conference. This concludes the presentation. You may now disconnect. Good day.

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