MusclePharm assets to be sold at auction

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images - JStudios
©Getty Images - JStudios

Related tags Sports nutrition Sports nutrition products Sports nutrition sector

The intellectual property of MusclePharm, a sports nutrition brand that had a meteoric rise and an equally spectacular fall, will be sold at an auction on Thursday, Dec. 15.

The deadline for interested parties to register for the action is today, according to Metis Partners​, an IP valuation firm.

The sale will cover the MusclePharm and FitMiss brands.  MusclePharm launched the FitMiss beverage brand earlier this year.

According to a Metis statement, MusclePharm’s products have been sold in over 100 countries and nationwide in the United States, including Costco and Walmart, as well as through over 100 online stores, notably, and Amazon.

Meteoric sales rise

MusclePharm was founded by a team that included former NFL player and Denver resident Brad Pyatt.  The partners rapidly built the brand, which featured bold lime green packaging, to annual sales of more than $150 million.

Part of that strategy was to sign up high profile athletes and influencers, including at one time Tiger Woods and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  

However, the company failed to keep costs under control, whether as a result of poor business practices or as a matter of subterfuge.  The Securities and Exchange Commission took the latter view.

SEC charges

In 2015 the SEC charged the company with “committing a series of accounting and disclosure violations, including the failure to properly report perks provided to its executives as compensation.”

Among the charges were:

  • MusclePharm failed to disclose related party transactions with a major customer and failed to implement sufficient policies to identify and disclose related party transactions.
  • MusclePharm failed to disclose bankruptcies related to two executive officers, and misstated that no members of the board of directors or other executives had been involved in any bankruptcy proceedings.
  • MusclePharm improperly accounted for advertising and promotional related costs and consequently overstated its revenue.
  • MusclePharm failed to disclose continuing sponsorship commitments for which the company eventually made payments totaling $6.9 million.
  • MusclePharm failed to implement internal accounting controls for perks and other areas where it committed accounting and disclosure violations.

As a result of the case, the company paid a $700,000 penalty and Pyatt (who was ousted as CEO) himself agreed to a $150,000 fine. 

Lawsuits, failed sponsorship deals

The company never truly recovered from the debacle.  The subsequent management team, which until recently included Country Life Vitamins veteran Ryan Drexler, struggled with lawsuits relating to contract manufacturing agreements and with unraveling the many sponsorship deals that Pyatt and his partners had entered into.

The company reported $13.1 million in quarterly revenue in its most recent earnings statement, which covered the first quarter of 2022.  It had not reported earnings since then.  The company’s stock traded above $2 a share briefly in 2021 but sank below the $1 mark later that year.  It was recently trading at between 18 and 22 cents a share before the stock became essentially worthless at the end of November.

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