Sequential Brands Group Names Yehuda Shmidman CEO

Executive will be working to build a platform of intellectual property assets involving lifestyle brands that have the potential to grow in other categories.

Sequential Brands Group has a new chief executive officer, Yehuda Shmidman.

This story first appeared in the November 20, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Shmidman joins the brand-management and licensing firm today and will be working to build a platform of intellectual property assets involving lifestyle brands that have the potential to grow in other categories as well as have global recognition.

Shmidman succeeds Colin Dyne, who left the company to pursue other opportunities. Shmidman was formerly chief operating officer at Iconix Brand Group. He joined Iconix in 2005, the year Iconix became a pure-play brand-management firm. While there, he headed global business development and was involved in many mergers and acquisitions initiatives, before being named chief operating officer in 2011. During his tenure, Iconix grew from a small five-fashion brand to a company with more than 25 brands generating more than $360 million in licensing revenue across a broad range of sectors.

Shmidman said, “Sequential is looking for globally known brands with recognizable IP assets.…We are looking at middle-market or smaller emerging brands, and we have a focused list of lifestyle brands that have category growth.”

William Sweedler, chairman of Sequential, said, “With Yehuda’s proven track record, we are confident that we have the leader in place to execute our brand-management and licensing playbook going forward. Sequential is embarking on the launch of the William Rast brand at J.C. Penney, and it has signed new cornerstone licensing agreements for its DVS and People’s Liberation brands.”

According to Sweedler, the plan for Sequential is to acquire the IP assets of two dozen brands over the next five years.

Sequential is an over-the-counter publicly traded firm formed through the acquisition of People’s Liberation Inc., Sweedler’s private equity firm Tengram Capital Partners, a separate business that is unrelated to Sequential, in February provided a $14.5 million investment to Sequential, which will be used in part for acquisitions under the brand management firm’s umbrella.

The William Rast shops-in-shop at J.C. Penney are slated to launch in 600 locations in January, and will initially feature men’s sportswear and denim offerings, as well as some accessories products.

Sequential competes with firms such as Iconix and Authentic Brands Group, the stalking-horse bidder for the assets of bankrupt HMX Group. These brand-management and licensing firms are part of a new group of acquirers who are competing with private equity and strategic firms for branded assets in the mergers-and-acquisitions space.