Brand acquisition and management firm NexCen has completed its purchase of athletic shoe and apparel retail franchise business The Athlete's Foot.

NexCen, which recently changed its name from Aether Holdings, has bought The Athlete's Foot brand as well as the franchisee license deals in the global retail franchise system.

The total purchase price was US$51.5m, of which $9.4m was funded by the issuance of about 1.4m shares of common stock. The rest was funded by cash in hand.

There is also an earn-out of up to an additional $8.5m (if The Athlete's Foot financial results for the year ending 31 December 2006 meet specified performance targets).

NexCen's president and CEO Robert W D'Loren said: "With The Athlete's Foot as the foundation of our retail franchise platform, NexCen is well positioned for additional retail franchise and consumer brand acquisitions in the future."

D'Loren continued: "We look forward to continued expansion in our three operating verticals, and are confident this is just the beginning of what will be an exciting long-term growth strategy for the company."