Adidas to continue selling shoes designed with Kanye West, without Yeezy brand

The German sportswear company says it is the 'sole owner' of certain rights

Adidas has ended production of its Yeezy-branded products, but says plans to 'leverage the existing inventory' are being developed. AP
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Adidas says it plans to continue releasing shoes designed in collaboration with Kanye West without the Yeezy brand, after terminating its partnership with the US rapper last month.

Bosses at the German sportswear brand reiterated it was the “sole owner” of certain design rights and coming colourways, and intended to make use of them next year.

The company announced it was ending production of its Yeezy-branded products with “immediate effect” at the end of October.

Kanye West and adidas's partnership was estimated to be worth up to $4.7 billion. AFP

But during a call to discuss quarterly earnings on Wednesday, adidas chief financial officer Harm Ohlmeyer said plans to “leverage the existing inventory” were currently being developed, according to US outlets.

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

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

The company, which faced pressure to cut ties with West over his anti-Semitic remarks on social media, condemned his comments as “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous”.

The decision to terminate the partnership cost the rapper, who has legally changed his name to Ye, his spot on the Forbes billionaires list.

The contract accounted for about $1.5 billion, according to the US business magazine.

At the time, adidas said it expected the decision to have a “short-term negative impact of up to €250 million ($250.8m) on the company’s net income in 2022 given the high seasonality of the fourth quarter”.

On Wednesday, adidas also announced it had lowered its earnings forecast for the year to account for losses from ending its partnership with the rapper, though Ohlmeyer said the profitability of the enterprise had been “overstated”.

The company would largely offset the impact of the break-up next year by no longer having to pay royalties and marketing fees for the brand, he said.

It comes after the company appointed Bjorn Gulden, the chief executive of rival Puma, as its new chief executive.

He will take over adidas in January as the company continues to weather the fallout from its split with West.

Updated: November 10, 2022, 2:55 PM