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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hip-Hop Designer Marc Ecko Nears $200 Mil Debt...

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Hip-Hop clothing designer Marc Ecko's financial records have emerged showing his company is nearly $200 million in debt.

In an attempt to begin re-payment on two loans, Ecko has reportedly resorted to refinancing officials.

Ecko has hired investment bank Peter J. Solomon to help refinance at least $170 million in debt. The debts are owed to a couple of important business partners. If he can't find a willing lender, Ecko may have to sell off some assets. Like many fashion outfits, the Marc Ecko brand took a hit during the past retail season. Sources say the company owes more than $100 million to Li & Fung, a global trading company that helps manufacture Marc Ecko products. He also also defaulted on a term loan of more than $70 million from a syndicate led by commercial-lending giant CIT and although he won forbearance on the loan, CIT will have to be paid by summer. (Luxist)

An Ecko rep has confirmed the allegations and weighed in on the designer's plans of action.

"We're pretty confident that this isn't an issue that's life-threatening at all," Michael Golden, chief marketing officer at Marc Ecko Enterprises, said. "In our case, we have more than enough assets to pay off that term loan, and we have more than enough time." Golden characterizes the $100 million due to Li & Fung as "normal trade payables" that fluctuate with seasonal inventory. And while he admits that "some businesses are doing better than others," Golden noted strength in the company's licensing and international units. (New York Post)

Ecko is known for making large investments in various high-profile purchases.

In 2007, he paid $750,000 for Barry Bonds' record-breaking home run ball, then branded it with an asterisk. Which was kinda cool, but still. He built himself a huge Italian villa-style mansion in New Jersey and pimped it out, including, we hear from a pretty good source, buying hand-painted wallpaper and spending $180,000 on custom doorknobs. (Gawker)

Ecko is a renowned urban designer and responsible for Complex Magazine.

"I grew up at a time when hip-hop and skateboarder culture were emerging. It was a time before they were hypercommercialized," Ecko said in a 2008 interview. The chairman and founder of Marc Ecko Enterprises, a New York-based company responsible for clothing lines such as G-Unit and Zoo York, retail stores, skateboards and media properties that play a part in commercializing the very culture Ecko venerates. (AdWeek)

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