Combs Hookt on merger

Artist joins site with revenue plan, e-commerce outlet

Sean “Puffy” Combs has hooked up with hip-hop Web site Hookt.com, helping to secure the financial future of the company as others are stumbling to remain afloat.

Combs’ Internet venture, Bad Boy Technologies, is merging with Hookt.com, and the Gotham-based Netco will manage the Web presence of the producer’s projects, including Bad Boy Entertainment, Justin’s Restaurant, Notorious magazine, the Daddy House Social Programs and Bad Boy Marketing and Advertising.

“I didn’t want to make my move prematurely,” Combs told Daily Variety. “Hookt was the only company I looked at that had a revenue plan with an e-commerce outlet. I didn’t really see how the other sites were going to be in existence five years from now.”

Hookt will become the exclusive e-commerce outlet for Sean John, the clothing line designed by Combs.

“The hip-hop entertainment space is defined by fashion, music and the opinion leaders that create it,” said Hookt CEO Peter Griffith. “Our partnership with Bad Boy allows us to keep our finger on the pulse and redefine hip-hop culture and entertainment on the Internet.”

Alongside founders Griffith and Chas Walker, Combs will act as a controlling partner in Hookt.

“We’re merging their strengths in finance and banking with mine in entertainment and marketing,” Combs said. “It’s important to me to keep the money rolling in and not turn into one of these Internet tragedies that are happening every day.”

Combs and the founders of Hookt donated 100 computers to the Harlem School District Tuesday.

While financial terms of the deal with Combs were not released, the exclusive e-commerce aspect involving the Sean John clothing line is expected to be lucrative for the Netco.

Sales of the line — nominated for an award this year from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and sported by the likes of Chris Rock, Donald Trump and Eminem — are expected to total more than $100 million this year.

Coincidentally, Hookt’s first major talent deal was inked this summer with Eminem, who for $2 million will voice 26 animated Webisodes for subsid site SlimShadyWorld.com.

Founder Griffith is the former head of programming for Diva Systems; Walker used to be a banker with Lehman Bros.

Earlier this year, Hookt closed a $12 million second round of funding with support from Chase Capital Entertainment Partners, a venture capital firm that also funded music portal ArtistDirect and the late entertainment site DEN.

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