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Aether to Buy The Athlete's Foot

New York City, Aether Holdings announced Monday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire The Athlete's Foot brand along with the global retail franchise operation. Aether also said it intends to start doing business as NexCen Brands Inc.

Robert Corliss, president and CEO of The Athlete's Foot, will continue with Aether after the closing as president and CEO of Aether's retail franchise division, NexCen Franchise Brands Inc.

Aether has also agreed to enter into employment arrangements with certain key executives of The Athlete's Foot, including Corliss. The company did not disclose names of other executives.

"This franchise system will provide us not only with a historical and growing revenue stream, but also a flexible distribution channel for additional consumer brands that we plan to acquire in the future," said Robert D'Loren, Aether's president and CEO. "This is an exciting first step for Aether toward building a large and diverse portfolio of consumer brands and franchise-related assets."

Aether will pay $51.5 million at closing through a combination of cash and the issuance of Aether common stock. The transaction is expected to close before the end of 2006.

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