Authentic Brands Group has acquired athletic footwear brand Tretorn from Puma, representing its third acquisition since April.
Jamie Salter, chairman and chief executive officer of ABG, said, “Tretorn is a global brand that is very important to us. With a heritage spanning over 120 years, the product is associated with the athletic lifestyle space. That space is very interesting to us and Tretorn has a lot of attributes in the outdoor-living lifestyle category.”
The brand management firm already has Spyder, Tapout and Prince in its sports and lifestyle group, but those brands focus on outerwear and sporting goods with very little in the outdoor footwear category.
“Our plan is to expand Tretorn into multiple categories, first expanding into accessories, such as socks and hats, and later into sportswear, which the brand is not in now,” Salter said.
Terms of the deal for the affordable Swedish luxury lifestyle brand were not disclosed. Although Puma acquired the Tretorn Group in 2002, ABG negotiated the deal with Kering, which has owned over a 60 percent stake in Puma since 2013. ABG has an agreement with Tretorn’s existing management team, where Tretorn Sweden has become the master licensee in Europe and Scandinavia, and will be the global-developer of rubber-based footwear, such as rainboots. ABG is in discussions with a strategic licensing partner for North America.
According to Salter, the initial emphasis will be on footwear, outerwear and tennis equipment for North America and Asia, areas that have been identified as key growth markets.
The brand has collaborations with designers and retailers such as Comme des Garçons, Richard James, H&M and J. Crew for its Canvas Nylite sneaker. It is primarily available in the Nordic countries, the U.K., North America, Japan and worldwide on its Web site. According to Salter, the retail distribution will continue at the department store level and in sporting goods and specialty stores.
Nick Woodhouse, ABG’s president and chief marketing officer, said, “The Nylite was a favorite with tennis starts from Björn Borg to Martina Navratilova and was celebrated as one of the first-ever sport shoes that exuded style off the court. With today’s lifestyle trends, now is the perfect time to welcome Tretorn to the ABG family and launch it into new categories and territories.”
For ABG, the latest acquisition, along with Jones New York in April and Frederick’s of Hollywood earlier this year, catapults the firm’s portfolio of brands to more than $4.6 billion in worldwide retail sales.
Sources familiar with ABG’s plans said the company is planning more acquisitions for the balance of the year. While ABG has typically completed one or two transactions a year, it has been on an acquisition spree, having completed three in the past two months. That’s in addition to licensing deals for existing brands under its portfolio, such as the ones with WWE for Tapout in March and the brand launch for the animated Mini Marilyn in China with DMG in April.
In May, individuals with knowledge of talks between ABG and its investor Leonard Green & Partners said the company is eyeing an initial public offering down the road. An IPO would allow the private equity firm to see a return on its investment in ABG, although how much is unclear since it hasn’t yet been determined how many shares will be floated.
Salter declined comment on possible IPO plans, and there’s no way of knowing how long the IPO window will remain open. Sources noted that the ramp-up in deals points to an IPO strategy, with an eye on a good investment strategy for when a roadshow for investors does occur.