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BlackRock takes stake in owner of Sports Illustrated, Juicy Couture, Nautica

Rachel Tesler

BlackRock is taking a stake in Authentic Brands Group LLC, which owns a global portfolio of entertainment and lifestyle brands including Sports Illustrated and Juice Couture, in a deal valued at more than $4 billion including debt, according to Wall Street Journal sources.

The investment management corporation BlackRock is set to become Authentic’s largest shareholder, replacing private-equity firm Leonard Green & Partners as Authentic Brands' largest shareholder, the Journal reported. BlackRock's new private equity fund Long Term Private Capital's maiden investment in the group now values at $875 million, making it the largest investor.

Authentic acquired Volcom in April, increasing the company’s annual retail value to more than $9.3 billion. In a press release, Volcom’s CEO said the company was looking forward to being a part of the empire Authentic’s CEO Jamie Salter had built.

“Jamie’s commitment and conviction throughout the sale process was proof of his passion for the brand,” said Todd Hymel, CEO of Volcom’s Liberated Brands. “ABG has built an impressive portfolio by being a powerhouse in brand development and marketing. Jamie and his team share our vision and excitement for Volcom’s long-term growth and we are excited to be a part of this next chapter for the brand.”

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Authentic Brands Group had taken on debt including from its brand Nine West, which filed for bankruptcy in 2018. It purchased Sports Illustrated from Meredith in 2018 for $110 million as part of a strategic partnership to eliminate $1.4 billion in debt accrued to finance its $1.85 billion acquisition of Time Inc., which closed in January 2018.

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