Ali licensing drive expands

New round of marketing activity to kick off around the boxing champion's 66th birthday.
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Muhammad Ali Enterprises is planning a raft of new business deals, including new merchandise deals, as the former boxing champion celebrates his 66th birthday.

A new online store - www.ali.com - will sell posters, books and other signature memorabilia. Also, in addition to the recent deal with American Greetings for a series of eight Ali cards, sports memorabilia company Upper Deck Authenticated will be rolling out action figures and other merchandise.

Ali sold an 80 per cent stake in his name and likeness for $50 million in April 2006 to CKX, a New York-based firm which also owns Elvis Presley's estate and the rights to the American Idol TV show. He retains a 20 per cent stake in Muhammad Ali Enterprises.

Officials from CKX said that the business had $4 million to $7 million in annual revenue from marketing in the five year period leading up to the 2006 purchase.

"Muhammad Ali and his former company did licensing deals, but now as part of CKX, we are able to do more with the Ali brand," said Ronald DiNicola, president and CEO of Muhammad Ali Enterprises. "American Greetings and Upper Deck are examples of the top-tier businesses we plan to be working with in the future."

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