Authentic Brands Group (ABG) on Tuesday announced the purchase of the intellectual property of Volcom from Parisian luxury brand conglomerate Kering S.A. for an undisclosed amount.
In a move akin to its Aéropostale acquisition, worked out with mall landlords, ABG has taken a minority stake in Liberated Brands, Volcom's newly-formed operating company. ABG will focus on brand awareness and business development "while leveraging Liberated Brands' specialized retail and wholesale operations as a platform for international expansion of complementary ABG-owned brands," according to a press release emailed to Retail Dive.
Liberated Brands CEO Todd Hymel and his management team have taken the majority stake and will run operations in the U.S., France, Australia and Japan, and oversee global product development, athlete marketing and the retail and wholesale businesses worldwide, according to the ABG press release.
With this move, ABG signals a belief that American skate, surf and snow culture is primed for more overseas sales. The company notes that Volcom already runs nearly 100 global retail stores and distribution in 60 countries and that 45% of its revenue is driven internationally. ABG said the purchase of Volcom "boosts the value of its portfolio to more than $9.3 billion in annual retail sales."
It's not clear how much runway there is in the segment, as the likes of surf darlings Quicksilver, PacSun and Billabong have all struggled in similar ambitions. But like ABG, brand licensing company Global Icons also announced the acquisition of California favorite Fred Segal for an undisclosed amount and also stated its worldwide ambitions for that brand.
The partners are initially focusing on developing near and long-term strategies that entail building on "the brand's core men's and snow businesses as well as fuel the momentum of its women's and kid's categories in North America and key international markets." ABG also said it plans digital campaigns and influencer partnerships targeting millennial and Gen Z audiences.
"Volcom is one of the world's most sought-after lifestyle brands by board sports enthusiasts," ABG President and Chief Marketing Officer Nick Woodhouse said in a statement. "Liberated Brands' operational expertise combined with ABG's brand building know-how and a global network of best-in-class partners, make an unstoppable combination."