Jun 30, 2023
The transaction values the owner of fashion brands and celebrity rights at over $20 billion, said people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private information. A representative for Authentic Brands declined to comment on the valuation.
Led by Canadian billionaire Jamie Salter, Authentic Brands is one of the most acquisitive buyers of apparel, consumer and celebrity brands, with a portfolio that includes the rights to Sports Illustrated as well as boxing legend Muhammad Ali and European football great David Beckham.
The company generates over $25 billion in global annual retail sales across more than 40 brands, according to a statement reviewed by Bloomberg News.
“I think the US is slowing down a little bit for sure. I don’t think you’re going to see huge robust growth in America,” Salter, the company’s chief executive officer, said during an interview from Tommy Hilfiger’s boat somewhere in Europe. He expects more growth to come from Latin America, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.
Authentic Brands’ international business contributes just 30% of its revenue but he hopes increase that to half.
Authentic Brands filed for an initial public offering in 2021 before withdrawing its application last year at the beginning of a listing drought. It turned to the private market and was valued at $12.7 billion including debt in its most recent funding round, according to a 2022 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The company could go public in the next 24 months, Salter said.
General Atlantic first invested in Authentic Brands in 2017 and has now invested a total $2 billion in the company. Other investors in Authentic Brands include BlackRock Inc.’s private equity arm, mall operator Simon Property Group Inc., Leonard Green & Partners and retired basketball star Shaquille O’Neal,
General Atlantic cashed out of its initial investment before participating in two subsequent funding rounds, according to Andrew Crawford, managing director and global head of consumer at the global private equity firm. That was largely to better align with newer investors such as CVC Capital and HPS Investment Partners, he said.
With its deal in March for Boardriders Inc., the General Atlantic capital “would help provide cash into the company and complete that acquisition,” Crawford said. Other recent acquisitions have included the intellectual property of iconic British rain boot maker Hunter and the $2.5 billion acquisition of Reebok from Adidas AG.
Salter, a grandfather of five, said his company will do deals with beauty, content and children’s brands as well as entertainment assets, which currently comprise 25% of the business.
“People may be spending less dollars on a sweater but they’re spending more dollars on a live event,” he said.
Hilfiger, who Salter called a personal consultant and a friend, chimed in.
“I agree people are traveling more and spending money on entertainment but people want to get dressed up to go out to get entertained,” Hilfiger said. “People are buying more sophisticated fashion and maybe replenishing their basics.”