Confirming rumors that have circulated in the past few weeks, the rapidly expanding Authentic Brands Group (ABG) has filed for an initial public offering. It said it seeks to raise $100 million through an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, but it did not indicate yet the timing, how many shares it wants to sell or their target price.
The company said that its revenues went up by 32 percent to $160 million in the first quarter of this year. It also said that it made net income of $225 million in 2020 on revenues of $489 million. This shows that it has been in much better financial shape than similar holders of multiple brands such as the Iconix Brands Group and Apex Global Brands, which are being taken private, or the Sequential Brands Group, which is reportedly going in the same direction, after shedding its debt through a pre-packaged bankrupcy.
Like them or Italy’s BasicNet, which has remained profitable, ABG gets most of its revenues from licenses. Founded by Jamie Salter in 2010, it has put together a portfolio of more than 30 retail, apparel, celebrity and sports brands that generate an annual retail turnover of more than $14 billion. Its sports brands include Muhammad Ali, Shaquille O’Neal, Sports Illustrated, Dr. J, Greg Norman, Spyder, Tretorn, Tapout, Prince, Volcom, Airwalk and Vision Street Wear.
ABG recently took over Eddie Bauer and Izod. Its financial strength may be put under stronger pressure if it goes ahead with a planned $1.2 billion takeover of Reebok, in combination with Wolverine Worldwide.
According to Women’s Wear Daily, ABG is seeking a valuation of around $10 billion. It was reportedly worth more than $4 billion in 2019, when BlackRock Capital Investment Corp. acquired a 30 percent stake in the company. Besides BlackRock and Salter himself, ABG’s largest listed shareholders are Leonard Green, Lion Capital, General Atlantic and Simon Property.
The lead underwriters for ABG’s IPO are three other big players: Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Goldman Sachs Group.