Dubai, United Arab Emirates – May 26, 2015 – Marka PJSC (DFM: MARKA), the first public joint stock company focused on the UAE’s retail sector, today announced that it has purchased a majority stake in the UK-based online retailer, Icons Shop Limited. In a move that makes Marka the first regional company to secure exclusive rights with an international e-commerce organization, the landmark acquisition sees Marka acquiring a sixty-five per cent share of the world’s largest football memorabilia company for AED 15.3 million.
Icons, which was established in 1999, retails exclusive and non-exclusive sports merchandise, has a key focus on football and is the latest addition to Marka’s rapidly expanding sports portfolio.
Nick Peel, CEO of Marka and chairman of the joint venture between Marka and Icons, said, “The acquisition of a majority stake in Icons is an important strategic addition to our growing sports retail portfolio. It is the world’s leading football memorabilia brand and makes Marka a market leader in a highly-profitable segment, with strong international growth potential through its successful online platform, ICONS.com.”
The company was awarded the world's first ever signed football memorabilia licence by FIFA in 2010 to produce a range of signed iconic World Cup products. In July 2012, Icons was awarded the first ever official licence for the UEFA Champions League. The company holds valuable licensing contracts with the world’s most famous players; including Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona and enjoys long term relationship with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr.
Marka will integrate Icons into its Modell’s Sporting Goods stores as well as its soon-to-open UEFA Champions League Experience, located in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall. The company will draw on Icons’ relationship with the world’s best known existing and historic players, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Pelé, Diego Maradona, Luis Figo, Andrés Iniesta, Neymar Jr, Bale and James Rodriguez for signing sessions and to sell signed shirts, boots, photos and other products. Icons also holds tournament rights with the sport’s major governing bodies, including FIFA’s World Cup in Russia and UEFA’s Champions League for the next three years.
The deal notably includes the inventory acquisition of one of its main competitors and suppliers, making Icons, through its online portal ICONS.com, the largest signed sports memorabilia business outside of the USA and the largest football memorabilia company in the world.
“We are seeing an increasing migration of customers to online, and through Icons’ e-commerce capabilities, Marka will expand our sports offering, reaching customers across the Middle East and Asia,” Mr. Peel added.
Daniel Jamieson, managing director of Icons said, “Icons is the world's leading sports - and in particular football - memorabilia brand and the most trusted operation in the game. Authenticity is everything to us, as it is everything to our customers. Our new joint venture with Marka enables us to open up our offerings to the Middle East region, bringing the millions of dedicated fans here the very best choice and quality of sports memorabilia.”
“I am delighted to be able to offer sports fans across the region the best access to signed goods and products from their sporting heroes, both in-store and online,” said Mr. Peel.
Marka confirmed that Mr. Jamieson will remain with Icons as its chief executive officer, with a mandate to expand the company’s offering across the Middle East and into Asia.
About Marka PJSC
Marka PJSC (DFM: MARKA) is the first public joint stock company focused on the growing retail sector in the UAE. Incorporated with a capital of AED 500 million and headquartered in Dubai, Marka is a premier retail operator targeting the mid-to-high-range and luxury segments. Since incorporation in 2014, Marka has partnered with leading global brands in the retail and hospitality sectors, pursuing a growth strategy focused on acquisitions, franchise agreements and unique retail concepts.
Marka is committed to offering value to its customers through high quality products and services at optimum cost, simultaneously generating value for its shareholders and giving back to the communities in which it operates.
For further information about Marka and to learn more about its brands, visit www.markaholding.com.
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