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February 12, 2009

No License, No Cry

Bobmarley Breakin' news from Jamaica is that private-equity group Hilco has paid the family of Bob Marley the cool sum of $20 million for a 50% equity stake in House of Marley, LLC, a new joint-venture that plans to license the image and brands of the singer, who died in 1981. Products in the pipe – sorry, pipeline – include shoes, food, collectibles, luggage, musical instruments, and stationery. Look for Marley Lager and Marley Organic Coffee coming your way in the not-too-distant future.

According to The Deal, Hilco believes the House of Marley can license a billion dollars a year worth of merchandise. Respect. But first they will have to crack down on the $600 million of pirated Marley goods they reckon are sold each year. Hilco promises to spend whatever it takes to stop counterfeiters, which has, of course, prompted a predictable backlash from Marley fans (see Gawker's post: Bob Marley Now Owned by Wall Street). Sell-out or sweet music? What do you think?

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Brand extensions are all around us — clothing from the Sierra Club, furniture polish from Steinway and, yes, even the kitchen sink from Jacuzzi. TippingSprung, a New York-based brand-extension consultancy, publishes an annual survey on brand extensions with Brandweek. If you spot a noteworthy extension for the blog or survey, email us.

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