BlackRock Buys An $875 Million Stake In Authentic Brands Group

By Noah Long ● August 16, 2019
  • PE firm BlackRock announced it made an $875 million strategic investment in Authentic Brands Group, which manages a number of premium brands like Sports Illustrated, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley.

Private equity firm BlackRock announced it invested $875 million in Authentic Brands Group, which is a company that is known for managing a number of premium brands like Sports Illustrated, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, Shaquille O’Neal, Greg Norman, Thalia Sodi, Neil Lane, Nautica, Aéropostale, Vince Camuto, Nine West, Frye, Spyder, Prince, Judith Lieber, and Juicy Couture.

BlackRock’s Long-Term Private Capital (LTPC) fund made the investment, according to the head of that division Andre Bourbonnais via Bloomberg. This deal values Authentic Brands at more than $4 billion including debt, according to Bloomberg’s sources.

“ABG is an innovator in the licensing and branding industry. We have built a close relationship with Jamie and Nick over the past ten years as they’ve established this company as a leader in the licensing industry by successfully capitalizing on trends and continuing to innovate in the evolving consumer space. They have built a best-in-class business model and grown it with flawless execution,” explained Colm Lanigan — a Senior Member of the Long Term Private Capital team. “We believe there is substantial growth still ahead for ABG and look forward to partnering with Jamie and Nick to build a global platform that brings together the worlds of fashion, health and wellness, sports, culture, and entertainment.”

Authentic Brands launched in 2010 and its portfolio of brands range across the entertainment, sports, and fashion sectors. There are more than 50 brands in the Authentic Brands portfolio.

“We are delighted to have ABG as LTPC’s first investment,” added Bourbonnais. “ABG represents exactly the type of high-quality business run by a proven management team that we target with our investment strategy. ABG will have the full support of the LTPC team, our operating partners and the BlackRock platform. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship.”

LTPC is going to become the largest investor in ABG and will work closely with its management led by founder, chairman, and CEO Jamie Salter and president and CMO Nick Woodhouse. And LTPC is joining existing ABG investors including founding investor Leonard Green & Partners, General Atlantic, Lion Capital, Simon Property Group, and Shaquille O’Neal.

“The strategic investment by LTPC is a testament to the success we have had building a leading platform for the ownership and development of brand and media content,” said Salter. “BlackRock’s scale, global footprint and digital capabilities will enable us to build out our organization and continue our domestic and international growth trajectory. This investment marks an important and exciting next phase of expansion for ABG.”