Sean “Diddy” Combs will soon be returning to department stores and runways near you with his reacquisition of fashion label Sean John. The entertainment mogul reportedly offered $3.3 million to regain total control of the brand, but his final winning bid came in at $7.551 million, more than twice his initial proposal.
“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. “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.”
Five years ago, Diddy sold 90% of Sean John to investment company Global Brands Group, and he kept the other shares to remain a minority stakeholder. At the time, the label claimed $450 million in annual retail sales and was projected to become a ten-digit business by its 20th anniversary.
But since that time, GBG filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, and the relationship between Diddy and GBG took a nosedive. Sean John was financially hurting, and Combs alleged the company began using his likeness without his approval to boost its sales. Furthermore, he said GBG used deceptive marketing practices to imply Combs was working with Sean John in a larger capacity than he really was, so he sued the firm for $25 million.
“[Diddy] does not challenge [Sean John/GBG’s] right to use the Sean John trademark,” Comb’s lawyer said in February, “but rather [Sean John/GBG’s] decision to leverage a fabricated quote they created and then falsely attributed to Mr. Combs, and to use Mr. Combs’s name and other monikers to create the false and misleading impression that Mr. Combs is the decision-maker behind the designs and creation of the GBG Collection.”
According to the New York Post, Combs then slapped GBG with a new $60 million suit for “for breach of contract, unfair competition, common law trademark infringement, deceptive practices, and unjust enrichment.”
However, with the return of Sean John to the Bad Boy Records founder, he reportedly dropped his suits and is eager to bring the label back to prominence. As many as 45 parties were interested in buying Sean John, and United Ventures LLC even offered to buy the label out of bankruptcy for $7.5 million in cash. But Diddy added an extra grand to his proposal, and that made the difference.