Photographer: Keith Bedford
Fashion

The Little-Known Owner of Juicy Couture Is on an Acquisition Spree

ABG has bought three fashion brands in the past two months

Authentic Brands Group, the little-known name behind such well-known apparel labels as Juicy Couture, Frederick's of Hollywood, and Tapout, is gobbling up brands through acquisitions and asserting itself as a force in the apparel world.

On Tuesday, ABG announced the acquisition of Tretorn, an athletic footwear label, from Puma. Tretorn is best known for its Nylite shoe, a style that famously graced the feet of such tennis legends as Björn Borg and Martina Navratilova. ABG hopes the brand will capitalize on lifestyle trends, such as rising demand for activewear. “Tretorn holds a unique place in the minds and hearts of consumers worldwide—from performance, to athleisure, to style, Tretorn has made a statement on and off tennis courts for decades,“ Jamie Salter, chief executive of ABG, said in a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ABG describes itself as "a brand development, licensing, and entertainment company" on its website. In practice, it buys up intellectual property, invests in improving brands, and works with licensing partners to bring them to retail. ABG's portfolio is largely stuffed with traditional apparel, accessory, and footwear labels, but it also manages the names and images of some deceased celebrities, such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley.

The Tretorn acquisition is another instant growth spurt for the privately held company, which has closed three deals in a little more than two months. In June, ABG bought lingerie brand Frederick's of Hollywood out of bankruptcy proceedings. In April, it snagged the rights to the Jones New York brand, a women's fashion label. 

ABG now boasts an array of brands that include everything from fitness gear to lacy nightwear. Tapout seeks the mixed martial arts crowd. Spyder targets skiers with its performance fabric tech. Menswear labels Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx ooze male sophistication. Judith Leiber brings high-end women's designer fashion to the mix, while Juicy Couture provides some loud, unapologetic L.A. glamour. Combined with the rest of ABG's portfolio, these brands represent a total of nearly $5 billion in global retail sales.

And it seems there’s more to come. Women’s Wear Daily reports that ABG’s planning even more acquisitions before the end of the year. ABG was named as a suitor of Martha Stewart Living, the home diva's publishing and licensing empire, according to a report by the New York Post. A representative for ABG did not respond to a request for comment on future acquisition plans.

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