Industry / Retail

Authentic Brands Group Files for IPO


On July 6, Authentic Brands Group (ABG), the New York City–based company with a stable of brands that includes J.C. Penney, Marilyn Monroe, and jewelry designer Neil Lane, filed for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The initial prospectus did not put a value on the business, but last year Bloomberg reported that ABG could be worth as much as $10 billion. The company posted $294.9 million in net income for the three months ending March 31, 2021, five times that of the prior year.

In a letter, CEO Jamie Salter (pictured), who founded the business in 2010, said ABG “bring[s] a fundamentally different approach to the brand business.

“We don’t manage stores, inventory, or supply chains,” he said. “We don’t manufacture anything. We are a licensing business and are purely focused on brand identity and marketing.

“With each deal, because of the way our model works, we essentially get to ask ourselves the question—‘If I could rebuild this brand exactly how I want it, what would that look like?’ And then we work to make the vision a reality.”

Other brands in ABG’s portfolio include fashion and retail icons like Brooks Brothers, Forever 21, Judith Leiber, Eddie Bauer, and Barneys New York, some of which were purchased after they filed for Chapter 11. ABG also manages celebrity brands like Elvis Presley, Shaquille O’Neal, and Muhammed Ali, and even a media brand, Sports Illustrated.

Its acquisition spree appears far from over; the prospectus said the company intends to continue to buy “powerful and enduring brands…which would benefit from our capabilities.”

The filing includes some details on J.C. Penney, the famed department store ABG purchased in November 2020 in conjunction with mall landlords Brookfield Asset Management and Simon Property Group following the chain’s bankruptcy. Jewelry made up 7% of the retailer’s sales in the first nine months of 2020, the filing reported, up from 6% for all of 2019.

(Photo courtesy of Authentic Brands Group)

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By: Rob Bates

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