By  on March 18, 2018

VF Corp.'s Nautica brand is set to join the portfolio of brands owned by Authentic Brands Group, a brand management company, market sources said Sunday.Terms of the deal could not be learned, but sources said an agreement was signed over the weekend and they believed an announcement could be made on Monday. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.VF said last month it was in talks to sell Nautica as part of the apparel giant's routine overhaul of its brand portfolio. WWD first reported on ABG's interest in Nautica in late February.Executives at neither VF Corp. nor ABG could not be reached for comment.As a brand management firm, ABG owns the intellectual property assets and focuses on the marketing and licensing components of the business. When it acquired the Aéropostale assets out of bankruptcy in 2016, ABG partnered with two real estate investment trusts, Simon Property Group and General Growth Properties. While ABG took over ownership of the Aéropostale IP, the trio formed Aero OpCo, which became the operating partner for Aéropostale. Aero OpCo runs the Aéropostale stores — more than 500 Aéropostale stores and more than 10,000 employees — and manages the brand's wholesale division. Sources said that with Aero OpCo in place, the likelihood is that it will also take over the operation of Nautica's stores, which total about 73 retail sites in the U.S.ABG counts private equity firms General Atlantic and Leonard Green & Partners as majority investors. It also has as minority investor Lion Capital. ABG has a goal of reaching $10 billion in global retail sales by 2020 for all brands managed under its portfolio. Nautica is believed to be ABG's biggest brand acquisition to date.

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