Owner of JCPenney, Forever 21 and Brooks Brothers plans to go public

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The licensing firm that owns a slew of aging, iconic commercial brands including JCPenney, Forever 21, Sports Illustrated and Marilyn Monroe plans to become a publicly traded company.

Authentic Brands Group — a fast-growing, 11-year-old firm based in New York whose deal-hungry chief executive Jamie Salter also has lately added luxury labels including Barneys and Brooks Brothers — filed a preliminary prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.

ABG’s growth has soared in the last five years, when it bought 19 of its 30 brands, according to the filing. The company said its 30 brands generated $225 million in net income in 2020 on revenues of $498 million.

The filing does not set an offering price or a valuation for the business. ABG says it plans to sell $100 million worth of stock, a placeholder amount that will change.

Some of ABG’s brands were bought out of bankruptcy or on the cusp of financial ruin. Its other properties include Aeropostale, Juicy Couture, Nine West and Eddie Bauer. 

“We don’t manage stores, inventory, or supply chains,” Salter said in the Wednesday filing. “We don’t manufacture anything. We are a licensing business and are purely focused on brand identity and marketing.”

ABG’s largest shareholders are BlackRock, Leonard Green and Partners, Lion Capital, Simon Property Group and Salter, whose four sons work for the company.

“I brought my sons into ABG at the ground floor,” Salter writes in shareholder letter. “There’s no better feeling as a parent for me than having built ABG with my four boys and having them by my side.”

Among the initiatives ABG is planning soon is a subscription loyalty membership program across all of its brands, which will “provide another recurring revenue stream, and gives us direct access to customer data to optimize our sales and marketing strategy,” according to the filing.

It’s also hatching a plan to partner with licensees to launch Sports Illustrated gambling and ticket sales, to “monetize” SI’s customers in the fast-growing sports betting industry, according to the filing.

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