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As Jones Talks Drag, Odds Increase Polo Will Reclaim Licenses

Jones Apparel Group doesn’t appear to be making much progress in its talks with Polo Ralph Lauren to retain the Ralph and Lauren licenses.

As written in these columns, Polo has reportedly taken three additional floors at 550 Seventh Avenue to set up these businesses in-house. Sources said Polo will have to pay heavily to get the Polo Jeans business back under its wing, but the Lauren and Ralph licenses, which reportedly would be in default, would revert back to Polo.

Polo, the $2.3 billion company, said in its annual report for the year ended March 30, 2002, that its various licenses with Jones, including jeanswear, were responsible for about $65 million in royalties, about 26.9 percent of its corporate licensing revenue.

"We don’t comment on any ongoing business discussions," said a Polo spokeswoman. Wesley R. Card, chief operating and financial officer of Jones, said, "We don’t comment on any aspect of the transaction." He said there was no deadline to resolve the problem. "We have no comment on how the discussions are going," said Card.

Bruce Klatsky, chairman of Phillips-Van Heusen, which is talking to several companies about doing a CK Calvin Klein better sportswear line, said no deal has been reached yet, and he’s still in discussions with various companies. "It’s starting to come together and we’re happy with where we are."
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