Authentic Brands Group Moves Forward on Boardriders Deal
Authentic Brands Group said Tuesday it has moved through the “next phase” of its bid to acquire the Boardriders group, with the signing of a definitive agreement.
The announcement continues to push Authentic through the acquisition process to buy up the owner of the Quiksilver, Billabong, Roxy, DC Shoes, RVCA, Element, VonZipper, and Honolua brands with portfolio-wide revenue of approximately $1.7 billion. The deal would also include more than 500 company-owned stores and web stores in 35 countries.
“We are thrilled to have completed the next phase of the Boardriders acquisition process,” Authentic founder, Chair, and CEO Jamie Salter said in a statement Tuesday. “The Boardriders brands are at the forefront of a growing consumer demand for authentic brand experiences, and we look forward to working with the management team to further unlock each brand’s rich heritage and reinforce their positions as leading consumer brands worldwide.”
Authentic said at the end of March it made a binding offer for Boardriders, marking the start of a period of exclusivity, after several months of speculation about who would buy the business.
Authentic’s brand portfolio totals more than 40 lines, including Volcom, Spyder, Sports Illustrated, Brooks Brothers, Barneys New York, Forever 21, Lucky Brand, Vince Camuto, and Aeropostale among others.
“We are pleased to find a great home for Boardriders in Authentic, one of the world’s premier brand owners and marketing platforms,” Boardriders CEO Arne Arens said in a statement. “Our brands and business have strong equity and an established and profitable organic growth strategy in place. We are confident that Authentic will bring the expertise and resources required to drive the next phase of Boardriders’ journey.”
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, with Bloomberg reporting in early March Authentic would pay $1.3 billion for Boardriders.
Salter expressed enthusiasm for the deal in an Instagram post this past weekend.
“As an early believer in the global appeal of action sports, this one brings me back to my roots,” he wrote. “We see big things on the horizon with (Boardriders).”
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Salter has roots in action sports – he founded Ride Snowboards in the 1990s with Tim Pogue and Roger Madison.
Salter’s Instagram post was met with enthusiastic emojis and likes from several in the industry, including Neff Headwear founder Shaun Neff, Honolua Surf Co., and Sessions founder Joel Gomez.
Many in the industry, particularly specialty surf retailers, have been awaiting the news, especially as it relates to clarity around how the brands would be managed under new ownership.
“We don’t know where Quiksilver and Billabong are going to end (up) and that is a big chunk of everyone’s business, and we hope they will end in good hands where they won’t be distributed in the mass,” Jack’s Surfboards partner Bobby Abdel told SES last week. “Authentic Brands they’re doing Volcom and they took care of them. They did not dump it everywhere.”
Other specialty retail owners also raised questions to SES earlier this month on the licensing model and whether the brands would go to individual licensees or a single company, with Wilson Retail Co. Managing Director Anthony Wilson referring to the deal as pieces in a “jigsaw puzzle.”
If the deal closes, the industry will become much more familiar with Salter, who is known for his deal making, his vision, and his directness.
Former Ride partner Tim Pogue, now CEO of Mizu, described what it is like to work with Salter a few years ago in an interview with SES. The two remain friends even after all the extreme ups and big downs with Ride back in the day.
“If anyone is surprised how big Authentic Brands has grown, they just don’t know Jamie,” Pogue said. “He’s very, very smart. He’s ruthless – he’ll do what it takes – but incredibly smart and successful.”
“Anyone who knows him, you know what you get,” Pogue continued. “That’s one of the things I really like about him, and what some other people probably don’t like about him. He’s going to tell you how he feels about you, about your plan, whatever it might be. And that can be rough for some people, but I’m the type of person who actually likes that.”
The deal will require regulatory approval among other closing conditions, with Authentic estimating the acquisition will be finalized in the third quarter.
Editor’s Note: To hear what other retailers had to say about the possible deal, click here. For more on Jamie Salter and Authentic Brands’ views on the traditional brand model, see the following story.
And, to get the latest on what Authentic Brands has been up to, read about the company’s acquisition of Vince’s IP.