May 5, 2009
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Iconix Q1 tops market; buys 50 pct in Hardy Way

May 5, 2009

May 5 (Reuters) - Iconix Brand Group Inc (ICON.O) posted first-quarter profit above market view and raised its full-year earnings outlook, sending the fashion house's shares up more than 9 percent in pre-market trading.

Britney Spears for Candie's, one of the Iconix Brand Group's labels

The company also said it acquired a 50 percent stake in Hardy Way LLC, the owner of the edgy Ed Hardy brand and trademarks, for $17 million in a cash and stock deal.

Iconix paid $9 million in cash and $8 million in stock to Hardy Way, and the sellers could get $1 million more in performance-based delayed payment, it said separately.

Ed Hardy, known for its tattoo inspired clothes, is known to be patronised by celebrities like Madonna and Britney Spears, and brings "tremendous growth opportunities" to Iconix, Iconix said.

Hardy Way estimates that 2009 royalty revenue will be about $10 million and the acquisition led Iconix to raise its 2009 forecast, it said.

Iconix, which sells its Op, Starter and Danskin Now brands at Walmart, earned $15.6 million, or 26 cents a share, for the first quarter compared with $16.5 million, or 27 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Excluding charges, it earned 29 cents, against estimates of 25 cents.

The company, several of whose brands are also sold at stores of Target Corp (TGT.N) and Kohl's Corp (KSS.N) amongst others, now expects to earn between $1.30 a share and $1.35 a share, up from its earlier view of $1.20-$1.30 per share.

Shares of the company were up 10 percent in trading before the bell. They closed at $15.51 Monday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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