Retail conglomerate Genuine Manufacturers Group readies for summer season IPO

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People enter a Forever 21 store at a shopping mall in Montebello, California on September 30, 2019 a day after the fashion retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

The retail conglomerate Authentic Brands Group is preparing for an initial public offering that could come as soon as this summer, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Authentic Brands — which owns businesses including Juicy Couture, Brooks Brothers, Aeropostale and Forever 21 — is targeting a valuation of about $10 billion in its IPO, said the person, who requested anonymity because the discussions remain private. At $10 billion, that would mean Authentic Brands’ market value would surpass that of Under Armour, Kohl’s, Ralph Lauren and Dick’s Sporting Goods. However, the size of the deal could change since it isn’t finalized.

Authentic Brands was valued at more than $4 billion, inclusive of debt, when BlackRock invested in the business in 2019.

The official registration statement for the public offering is expected to be filed by Authentic Brands in early July, the person said, and shares could begin trading by the end of that month.

A spokesperson from Authentic Brands declined to comment.

Since the company’s inception, Authentic Brands’ founder and CEO, Jamie Salter, has accumulated more than two dozen retail brands, including the bankrupt department store chain Barneys New York, Nautica and Nine West.

The business currently does more than $10 billion in retail sales annually, according to its website.

Authentic Brands’ strategy in recent years has entailed working with two of the biggest publicly traded mall owners in the United States, Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners. The trio came together in 2016 to purchase the teen apparel retailer Aeropostale out of bankruptcy. They did it again with Forever 21 last year.

With Simon, Authentic Brands has separately created a joint venture known as Sparc Group, which currently runs the operations of Brooks Brothers, Nautica, Aeropostale, Forever 21 and Lucky Brand.

Authentic Brands and Sparc recently announced they will be acquiring Eddie Bauer from private equity firm Golden Gate Capital.

In addition to BlackRock, Authentic Brands is backed by investors including General Atlantic and Leonard Green & Partners. BlackRock and General Atlantic declined to comment, while Leonard Green & Partners didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I’m in the first inning,” Salter told CNBC in an interview last year. “People are asking me, ‘Jamie. Mall-based retail? I don’t get it.’ … What I am going to say to you is, we need bricks and mortar. Retail really needs it.”

Bloomberg first reported on Authentic Brands’ plans to go public.

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