Amping up its brand portfolio, American brand development and licensing company Authentic Brands Group (ABG) has acquired the business of Nautica from VF Corp. ABG already owns a global portfolio of entertainment and lifestyle brands, including Juicy Couture, Jones New York, Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Prince Tennis, Tapout, Hickey Freeman, Judith Leiber. The transaction of Nautica from VF Corp. will mark a major milestone, completing ABG's largest brand acquisition. In 2013, the brand acquired Juicy Couture from Fifth & Pacific in 2013, followed by the purchase of the estate of Muhammad Ali including all of Ali's intellectual property. Commenting on the acquisition, Jamie Salter, chairman and CEO of ABG, said, “Nautica has significant global presence and incredible consumer reach. Through this acquisition we come closer to our goal of achieving $10 billion in global retail sales worldwide by 2020.” For VF’s part, company chairman, president and CEO, Steve Rendle, said, “As part of VF’s global business strategy, we’ve stated that our highest priority is to actively manage our brand portfolio to ensure that its composition positions us to accelerate growth. This announcement marks yet another example of how we’re delivering on our commitment…The Nautica brand is an iconic, globally recognized brand and Authentic Brands Group is the ideal owner to guide its next phase of growth and success.” Impetus to global growth strategy ABG will take on Nautica’s brand marketing and licensing functions as part of the transaction. Other parts of the operation will fall under the purview of Aero OpCo, the operating partner for Aéropostale. Aero OpCo will assume the role of Nautica’s core licensee and operating partner, managing the brand’s wholesale business, its more than 70 U.S. stores and e-commerce operations, plus product development and various other functions. Nautica has long been recognized as a lifestyle brand rooted in Americana. The brand brings in more than $1.2 billion in annual retail sales, has upward of 5,000 global points of sale, including 270 freestanding stores, and more than 40 licensing partners around the world. ABG said the purchase of Nautica will help it expanding in key markets and opening full-service offices. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of the year. VF, which owns such major like Wrangler, Lee, Vans, The North Face and Timberland, has been reshaping its cadre of labels, recently purchasing the Altra active footwear brand, the Icebreaker natural fiber performance apparel line and the Williamson-Dickie workwear brand. Last April, VF sold its Licensed Sports Group, including the Majestic brand, to Fanatics Inc. The company’s revenue increased 7 percent to $11.8 billion in fiscal 2017, while it reported an after-tax net loss from discontinued operations of $106 million, which included a loss on the sale of the licensing business, noncash impairment charges related to the discontinuance of the Nautica operation, and the operating results of the licensing and Nautica brand businesses.
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