Authentic Brands Group Re-emerges as Potential Buyer of Boardriders
Authentic Brands Group is reportedly back in the mix to acquire Boardriders after the exclusivity period for Bluestar Alliance expired without a deal, according to our sources.
Bluestar Alliance, which owns Hurley, has conducted extensive due diligence on Boardriders, including visiting some international territories, we are told.
Authentic previously had its own exclusivity period, which also lapsed and opened the opportunity for Bluestar to get involved.
Adding to the intrigue – Authentic and Bluestar are reportedly fierce business rivals in the licensing world. A competitive bidding process likely benefits Boardriders, which is owned by Oaktree Capital.
Authentic, which owns Volcom and more than 40 other brands, is one of the world’s leading licensing companies. Industry retailers thus far have been happy with Authentic’s stewardship of Volcom, which has not changed distribution strategies since being acquired by Authentic in 2019.
While Authentic has apparently re-emerged as a possible contender to buy Boardriders and its market-leading brands including Billabong, Quiksilver, Roxy and RVCA, there could be more twists to come in a sale process that has dragged on for at least six months. That uncertainty has core retailers concerned about fall and holiday orders and the long-term direction of the brands, which are so important to the market overall.
SES reached out to Boardriders, Bluestar, and Authentic for comment, and has not heard back. We will update this story if those companies opt to comment.
A Boardriders acquisition would be very complicated, in part because of the hundreds of retail lease obligations around the world and the large corporate presence in France, which has social laws that make it expensive to downsize.
According to Boardriders insiders, the company ended its most recent fiscal year Oct. 31 with approximately $1.7 billion in revenue, which was slightly higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Editor’s Update: Authentic Brands has since signed a definitive agreement for Boardriders. More details on the deal can be found here.