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10th Nov 2022

Adidas will continue selling Yeezys but under a different name

Steve Hopkins

Adidas said it is ‘the sole owner of all design rights registered to existing product’

Kanye West‘s nightmare keeps getting worse with news that Adidas are going to release more Yeezys as early as next year – but without him.

The sportswear giant who ditched the rapper, now known as just Ye, on October 25 after he made antisemitic remarks, made the revelation in its quarterly earnings call on Wednesday. The two had worked together since 2013 in what was a very successful, but turbulent partnership.

Ye frequently fought publically with Adidas management, including in June when he objected to the company releasing slides that resembled the Yeezy Slide, calling them, “a fake YEEZY made by Adidas themselves.”

“I’m not standing for this blatant copying no more,” he wrote on Instagram reacting to images of the Adidas Adilette slide.

Ye also condemned the brand for creating “Yeezy Day” without his approval, naming sneaker releases on its own, and not creating physical retail stores devoted to his brand.

On Wednesday, Adidas Chief Financial Officer Harm Ohlmeyer reiterated the company owns the designs it made in partnership with Ye.

“Adidas is the sole owner of all design rights registered to existing product,” he said.

“We intend to make use of these rights as early as 2023.”

Pressed during a subsequent Q&A with reporters, Ohlmeyer declined to elaborate on Adidas’ plans, beyond repeating the company owns “all the versions and new colorways. It’s our IP”, Insider reported.

An exception could be the Yeezy Slide, for which Ye owns the patent, the publication noted.

A reporter asked Ohlmeyer if there was any reputational risk to the company if it continued to release Yeezy products despite no longer having the backing of the artist.When Adidas ditched Ye with immediate effect it said it does not “tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech” and that the mogul’s recent actions had been “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous”.

Ohlmeyer said: “We are working through all the options. When the time is right we will be more specific.”

According to sneakerheads, it is thought Adidas’ Yeezy shoes will still sell, but the hype surrounding their release will be more subdued.

When Adidas announced its split with Ye, the company said it expected its bottom line to take a $247 million hit this year.

Wednesday’s earnings report was in-line with that forecast. Ohlmeyer said the company’s annual revenue would be roughly $502 million lower than expected this year.

Adidas will, however, save roughly $302 million in 2023 because of royalties and marketing costs it will no longer pay to support the Yeezy business.

Forbes suggested the Adidas deal removed $1.5 billion from Ye’s networth  and within days of being dropped Ye claimed he had lost $2 billion in one day. He was also ditched by a host of other companies and brands.

When Kanye left Nike for Adidas in November 2013, he criticised Nike – and then-CEO Mark Parker – for not paying him royalties on sold shoes.

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