Seltaeb was set up in 1963 by Nicky Byrne to look after the Beatles merchandising. The name Seltaeb was derived from spelling “Beatles” backwards.
Brian Epstein needed to find someone who could manage the overwhelming volume of merchandising requests on behalf of The Beatles. Epstein’s lawyer, David Jacobs, suggested Nicky Byrne. Byrne asked for, and received, a whopping 90% of the cut, which left only 10% for The Beatles, Brian Epstein and NEMS to split. Jacob’s told Epstein: “10% is better than nothing”.
Brian would later regret agreeing to such a lopsided deal. He was initially unaware of the potential merchandising market that existed, particularly in America, and subsequently lost The Beatles an estimated $100,000,000 in possible earnings. Epstein later renegotiated a more reasonable commission of 49% in August 1964.
Brian worried that if The Beatles discovered the truth about Seltaeb they wouldn’t renew their contracts with him – which were due to expire in the Autumn of 1967. He decided he could not tell them about the original bad deal that potentially lost them many millions of dollars, so he never told them. His troubles with Seltaeb would remain with him until his death on August 27, 1967.