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Kanye West Says Adidas Offered $1 Billion Buyout From Yeezy Venture

The artist, who now goes by simply Ye, said Adidas had been designing Yeezy products without his participation in a slew of venomous Instagram posts targeting the German sportswear brand’s managers. “It’s going to cost you billions,” he said.
Kanye West arrives at the Balenciaga show in New York. The musician recently aired grievances with his Yeezy brand's partners, Adidas and Gap.
Kanye West arrives at the Balenciaga show in New York. The musician recently aired grievances with his Yeezy brand's partners, Adidas and Gap. (Getty Images)

Ye, the musician and designer formerly known as Kanye West, was offered a $1 billion buyout from his Yeezy brand’s venture with Adidas, the artist claimed Sunday.

Ye also said the German sportswear company had been releasing products without his participation.

”The fact [Adidas] felt they could color my shoes and name them without my approval is really wild,” Ye wrote in a post on Instagram. “I really care about building something that changes the world and something I can leave to my kids. They tried to buy me out for 1 billion dollars. My royalties next year are 500 million dollars alone.”

The claims were among dozens of posts published since Friday in which Ye admonished, and even threatened to “legally destroy” Adidas’ leadership, particularly its new senior vice president and general manager. ”I have no chill. It’s going to cost you billions to keep me, It’s going to cost you billions to let me go, Adidas,” Ye posted.

The attack on Adidas follows a similar outburst lobbed at collaborator Gap, with whom Yeezy has an apparel venture. Ye has voiced dissatisfaction with how the line is being managed and accused Gap of copying designs from his Balenciaga collaboration to sell in its main line. Gap Inc.’s shares rose the most in at least 40 years when the company announced its partnership with Yeezy back in 2020, but the group has struggled to leverage the renewed buzz to reinvigorate its business.

Neither Adidas nor Yeezy Gap responded to BoF’s request for comment.

Disputes with both of Yeezy’s key partners do not bode well for the brand, whose value has been estimated between $3.2 billion and $4.7 billion, according to a March 2022 report by Bloomberg News, citing private documents from UBS. That valuation was based in part on Gap’s projections of $1 billion in annual sales for its Yeezy venture within two to eight years. Sales for Yeezy’s Adidas sneakers grew 31 percent to nearly $1.7 billion in 2021, according to the report, accounting for nearly 7 percent of Adidas annual revenue and bringing in $191 million in royalties for Yeezy.

A blockbuster recording career and track record of sharp, trend-setting creative direction has bolstered Ye’s audience in both music and fashion. But the artist’s brash public persona has regularly crossed the line into damaging remarks. Ye began to speak openly about his struggle with bipolar disorder in 2018 following a slew of controversial interviews, including one in which he suggested African-American slavery was “a choice”.

In one post over the weekend, Ye summarised his frustrations with Gap and Adidas, as well as with the Kardashian family, with whom he has publicly fought over custody and parenting since separating with reality TV-star Kim last year. “Here is the through line. Gap having meetings about me without me, Adidas releasing old shoes and coloring my shoes like I’m dead, me not having a say on where my children go to school,” he wrote. “If you don’t understand why I will not back down on my businesses my brands and my children then you’re the ones who are crazy.”


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