Sean “Diddy” Combs has won the bidding war to buy back his Sean John fashion line from the brand’s now-bankrupt owner, according to a filing Tuesday (Dec. 21) in Manhattan federal bankruptcy court.
Three weeks after news surfaced that the hip-hop mogul wanted to buy back the apparel line, bankrupt Global Brands Group alerted a federal judge that SLC Fashion LLC, a company associated with Combs, had prevailed over other bidders.
“I launched Sean John in 1998 with the goal of building a premium brand that shattered tradition and introduced hip-hop to high fashion on a global scale,” Combs said in a statement to Billboard. “Seeing how streetwear has evolved to rewrite the rules of fashion and impact culture across categories, I’m ready to reclaim ownership of the brand, build a team of visionary designers and global partners to write the next chapter of Sean John’s legacy.”
SLC Fashion will pay $7.551 million for the Sean John brand’s assets, according to the court filing – nearly double the initial $3.3 million bid, but still far less than he likely received when he sold it in 2016. Another company, United Ventures, offered $7.5 million. The judge will consider whether to approve the sale at a hearing on Wednesday.
Diddy launched Sean John in 1998, eventually building to annual retail sales of around $450 million in 2016, according to Women’s Wear Daily. But that year, Diddy sold a 90% stake in the company to Global Brands, calling it a partnership that “provides us the opportunity to reach the Millennial customer on a global level.”
The relationship had soured by 2021, when Diddy sued Global Brands for trademark infringement over its use of his “Vote or Die” slogan. He said the phrase rightly belonged to him, and that using it with Sean John was meant to imply that he was still in control of the brand.
This past summer, Global Brands’ U.S. unit filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. And earlier in December, the GBG unit that controls Sean John filed its own bankruptcy petition.
Listed in that petition was noticed that SLC Fashion was seeking to buy the brand. The proposal was what’s known in bankruptcy law as a “stalking horse bid” – an agreed-upon early offer to buy assets out of bankruptcy at a pre-set price. The procedure typically affords a buyer like Diddy certain advantages in return for guaranteeing Global Brands a minimum price for the sale.