For the past 50 years some of the most recognizable faces of fitness have included Jack LaLanne, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Suzanne Summers, Kathy Smith, George Foreman,â€¦ waitâ€¦ George Foreman? As odd as it may sound, the former heavyweight boxing champ and current heavyweight marketing machine could be looking to become the next face of fitness.
Foreman has signed a series of agreements with MM Companies Inc. allowing the company exclusive future use of his name, likeness and personal services through the assignment of his intellectual property. Although they are mum so far as to the products that will emerge under the partnership and where or how they could be sold, a spokesman said they will involve "health, fitness, quality, and of course, comfort."
In closing the deal, MM Companies will now be known as George Foreman Enterprises Inc. In case you wondered what MM Companies is or was (OTC BB: MMCO), it is run by Chairman and CEO Seymour Holtzman (www.sholtzman.com), also chairman of Casual Male Retail Group (Nasdaq: CMRG). The MM part of the name stems from his prior business, an online provider of customized music CDs, musicmaker.com, which according to Hoovers, had two employees in 2004 (Holtzman and his wife, it seems) and had "no current business operations" but was "actively looking to make acquisitions."
Not as if Holtzman just dumped musicmaker.com. Oh no. The company, which had offered more than 170,000 songs that customers could adorn with graphics and personalized text, returned $10 million to investors at $3 per share in March 2001. Originally formed in 1996, MM companies, now George Foreman Enterprises, is based in Wilkes-Barre, Penn. A two-time heavyweight boxing champion and Olympic gold medalist, Foreman, who is now co-chairman of the company, turned his jovial, likeable character into a mean, selling machine, producing billions of dollars in revenues for the companies that manufacture, distribute and sell his products.
"George Foreman Enterprises Inc. is a unique venture and great opportunity to create a lifestyle brand that harnesses the power of the George Foreman name," Holtzman said in a statement. "The worldwide brand recognition of George Foreman, along with his unparalleled successes as a product endorser will resonate well with consumers in today's challenging marketing environment. People immediately connect with George, and this connection is the answer that all marketers seek. Our aim will be to capitalize on this asset."
While the new company has not identified specific products carrying the well-traveled and well-recognized Foreman brand, speculation includes everything health and fitness products -- would a Foreman-branded lean, mean, fat-burning cardio machine be that big of a stretch?
SNEWSÂ® View: It seems the market liked the idea of George Foreman, and Holtzman's "active" search for a company or enterprise has struck gold. MM's stock price shot up to 4.10 on Aug. 18, the day after the announcement, a 52-week high, with the 50-day moving average having been 1.22. The increase on Aug. 18 showed a 52-week change of 222.40 percent! It may seem a giggle to imagine Foreman hawking ellipticals or home gyms, but think again: With an Olympic gold medal and an athletic background as well as a jovial, real-people persona, he could be THE best spokesperson for and name on fitness equipment.