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A Retail Crusader’s Eclectic Portfolio Is Giving Malls New Hope

Jamie Salter, the CEO of Authentic Brands, has partnered with Simon Properties to purchase struggling brands such as Brooks Brothers and Forever 21. He’s betting he can turn them around—and IPO.

A sampling of various brands in Authentic’s portfolio.

A sampling of various brands in Authentic’s portfolio.

Photos: Getty Images

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Jamie Salter started Authentic Brands Group as a licensing business more than a decade ago, often scooping up intellectual property out of the detritus of bankrupt companies like Polaroid and Linens ’n Things. Today he’s buying not only brands but also entire retailers, adding to an empire built on the belief that a bruised but well-known name can still work wonders at the cash register.

Authentic is one of a dwindling number of potential saviors for ailing and failed chains. Since last year, Chief Executive Officer Salter has added Brooks Brothers, Eddie Bauer, Forever 21, and Lucky Brand to an eclectic portfolio of more than 30 apparel, celebrity, and sports names that includes Juicy Couture, Sports Illustrated, and Barneys New York. The growth has Authentic considering an initial public offering as soon as this year.