Beckhams pay themselves £21m despite business losses

By Daniel Thomas
Business reporter, BBC News

Published
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David and Victoria Beckham have paid themselves £21m from their sports and media business since 2019, according to the their latest accounts.

This is despite continued heavy losses at Ms Beckham's fashion business, where trade has worsened during the pandemic.

Profit at David Beckham Ventures Limited (DBVL), the brand management firm owned by the former footballer and his wife, fell £3.5m to £11.3m in 2019.

This was in part due to money spent on expansion and charitable donations.

However, the celebrity couple still paid themselves a £14.5m dividend at the end of 2019, accounts show, and took a further £7.1m in 2020.

A spokesman attributed the payments to "profitable performance" at DBVL, which among other things manages Mr Beckham's strategic partnerships with Adidas and Haig Club whisky.

He also noted that the company's revenue climbed by £600,000 in 2019 to £16.2m.

However, Victoria Beckham Holdings (VBHL), which manages the former Spice Girl's fashion label, fared much worse during that time.

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Losses at the business - which is also backed by the Beckhams' former business partner Simon Fuller and private equity firm NEO investment Partners - widened to £16.6m during the year, following a loss of £12.5m in 2018.

It marked the seventh year the brand has been in the red since it was founded in 2008.

VBHL blamed costs associated with the launch of the Victoria Beckham Beauty business, a new cosmetics range in which the group has an 85% shareholding.

It also noted that total sales across the whole business were up by 7% in 2019.

'Significant doubt'

Nevertheless, auditors BDO, who signed off on the accounts, warned that the business was now reliant on shareholder support to keep going which could "cast significant doubt on the company's ability to continue as a going concern".

As the pandemic hammered the business last April, VBHL had to borrow £9.2m from its shareholders to repay an outstanding bank loan to HSBC after breaking its debt covenants.

VBHL said it was doing all it could to "navigate" the coronavirus crisis, including taking "all actions possible to conserve cash".

"All non-essential expenditure is being deferred and hiring freezes have been implemented for open positions.to enable the company to navigate through this pandemic," it said.

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