Moving into his post-TKO phase, Mitch Carlin has launched his new company, Jamz Fitness, and has announced he has the license to distribute a new line of Cory Everson fitness products for women. Â
Carlin, who founded TKO about a decade ago in his home, has taken over the Everson fitness line from TKO. Everson's manager Trish Malin told SNEWSÂ® her company cut-off the deal with TKO with a cease-and-desist order in December.
"Things were hung up in the courts," Malin said, referring to TKO's Ch. 11 bankruptcy reorganization that was filed in October 2005. "We severed the relationship with TKO in a friendly manner."
Meanwhile, Carlin had parted ways with TKO in December, leaving CEO Garry Kurtz in charge because, he said, "there was some differences in the direction the company would take" with the Chapter 11 process and the associated uncertainties. Carlin owned the trademarks and the company until he partnered with Kurtz in late 1995. Although Carlin is still the second-largest shareholder, shares in a bankrupt company aren't expected to amount to much, he said, and he doesn't expect to regain anything.
Once Carlin decided to stay in the fitness industry and he heard the Everson group had pulled the plug on its arrangement with TKO, the two began talking about working together. Jamz Fitness will begin with about 30 Cory Everson-branded fitness products, mostly accessories, and will then move into other areas, specializing in women's fitness and accessories in general. The first products will be out in late spring, and Carlin said he may launch his company officially at the Health & Fitness Business show in Denver in August.
"I'm excited about the opportunity some retailers have given me," Carlin told SNEWSÂ®. "They want to continue to grow it with me.
"With Cory, she fits in well with the woman who is exercising right now," he added. "She's a strong name in fitness, and she fits in with today's demographics perfectly."
Malin, Everson's manager, said her company has worked on positioning Cory Everson as a busy mom, not the body-builder she once was, who also has to be diligent to fit in workouts. They are also in the process of planning a new cable television show, Malin said, that will incorporate family and nutrition and appeal to the average woman. Working with Carlin again is another positive, she said.
"He was very responsive and knowledgeable," Malin said, "and he knew who Cory was."
When it comes to TKO, its future will depend on how much of a loss the bank, the investors and the unsecured creditors are willing to take. As of now, there seems to be a settlement agreement with the Bank of Montreal, with the bank taking a large loss. (Click here to see the most recent story in SNEWSÂ®, Jan. 3, 2006, "TKO playing 'ultimate game of chicken'?")
Where TKO is going is still unsure. Bob Harms remains with the company, and it may turn to focusing only on commercial sales of plates and weight-lifting accessories, some said. Others have said in court records that Kurtz may shut down the bankrupt entity --TKO Sports Group USA Ltd. -- to rid itself of debts, but could then re-emerge under the name of one of the other TKO family of companies.
Meanwhile, Carlin can be contacted at his West Palm Beach, Fla., office atÂ firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-498-5269.