With Adidas offloading north of $1.3 billion in remaining Yeezy inventory, Kanye West stands to benefit from a cool $140 million or so potential payday.
Herzogenaurach, Germany-headquartered Adidas announced earlier in May that it would sell off an estimated $1.3 billion worth of already-manufactured Yeezy shoes, donating a “significant amount” of the resulting revenue “to selected organizations working to combat discrimination and hate, including racism and antisemitism.”
Also set to gain from the sale is Kanye West, however. According to Bloomberg, the 45-year-old (who remains embroiled in a multimillion-dollar courtroom confrontation with Gap) is owed an 11 percent piece of each Yeezy product sold – meaning that Adidas could pay him around $143 million from the aforesaid $1.3 billion in as-yet-unmoved inventory.
Needless to say, this final Adidas payday underscores the popularity of the Yeezy line and the immense value that the partnership delivered to West, who’s dropped off Forbes’ “Richest Celebrities” list. (Of course, Adidas generated a sizable sum from the arrangement as well, and higher-ups are now grappling with a slumping stock price and class-action litigation from irked investors.)
Expanding upon the point, a federal judge last week overturned a 2022 court order that had frozen Yeezy bank accounts containing approximately $75 million. The order had resulted from an ongoing legal action initiated by Adidas in November of 2022, per recently unsealed court documents cited by Law360.
The formerly Beyoncé-partnered company had moved to prevent West from draining the accounts in question – Adidas maintains that it’s entitled to the cash – as the involved parties arbitrate their professional split. But Billboard has reported that a federal judge, having previously green-lit the freeze on an ex parte basis, formally ended the banking pause because “’Adidas’s failure to file a motion to confirm nullifies the attachment order.’”
Nevertheless, Adidas will still argue during the arbitration process that it’s the rightful owner of the capital, and per the same outlet, the presiding judge has left the door open for additional requests to freeze Yeezy accounts and assets.
At the time of writing, Kanye West (who’s no longer active on Twitter or Instagram) didn’t appear to have commented publicly on the possible $143 million windfall or the order unfreezing the accounts. The website of Adidas, which has for some time faced criticism over the wages it pays the individuals who make its products, shows that multiple variations of the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 are scheduled to go on sale on Wednesday for $230 per pair.