Authentic Brands Group Is Betting On the Skate Market With Volcom

Authentic Brands Group continues to diversify its portfolio.

The brand management firm announced today that it has snapped up Volcom, which was previously owned by French luxury group Kering SA. ABG will own the intellectual property rights for Volcom, while the brand’s management team will continue to operate it.

The skatewear label boasts nearly 100 stores across the world and distribution in 60 countries, with 45 percent of sales driven by international customers. ABG now values its portfolio at more than $9.3 billion in annual revenues.

“For nearly three decades, the Volcom family has created one of the most iconic brands in the skate, surf and snow markets,” ABG chairman and CEO Jamie Salter said in a statement. “During the last few years, the brand has been consistently gaining traction with broader audiences around the world while staying true to its core. We could not be happier to finally get to work with this team.”

As part of the agreement, ABG has taken a minority stake in Liberated Brands, the newly formed operating company for Volcom, to leverage its range of owned and licensed lifestyle, celebrity and entertainment brands, including Frye, Juicy Couture, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.

Volcom CEO Todd Hymel and its management team hold the majority stake in Liberated — and will maintain operations in the United States, France, Japan and Australia, as well as continue to oversee product development, athlete marketing and the company’s retail and wholesale businesses.

“Jamie’s commitment and conviction throughout the sale process was proof of his passion for the brand,” said Todd Hymel, CEO of Liberated Brands. “ABG has built an impressive portfolio by being a powerhouse in brand development and marketing. Jamie and his team share our vision and excitement for Volcom’s long-term growth, and we are excited to be a part of this next chapter for the brand.”

ABG, which took home FN’s 2018 Company of the Year award, has established itself as a footwear powerhouse — picking up the Nautica brand from VF Corp. last March, purchasing Nine West and Bandolino out of bankruptcy in June and securing Camuto Group in October. Early this year, the firm also announced a decade-long partnership with Tilray Inc., a global pioneer of cannabis production.

ABG said the acquisition will allow Volcom to launch targeted digital campaigns and influencer partnerships that cater to millennial and Gen Z audiences.

“Volcom is one of the world’s most sought-after lifestyle brands by board sports enthusiasts,” said Nick Woodhouse, president and CMO of ABG. “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. We look forward to joining forces to take this brand to new heights.”

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