Authentic Brands IPO: What You Need to Know

IPO may value the parent company of JCPenney as high as $10 billion

Authentic Brands Group owns a variety of well-known retailers, among them JCPenney, Forever 21, Eddie Bauer, Brooks Brothers, Nine West, Aeropostale, Lucky Brand, Barneys New York, and Juicy Couture. As a result, Authentic Brands has become one of the biggest operators of brick-and-mortar stores during a period of increasing online sales. The company also holds licenses to more than 30 brands, such as Sports Illustrated and Marilyn Monroe. The upshot is that Authentic Brands derives most of its sales revenue from licensing fees.

Key Takeaways

  • Authentic Brands owns several retailers, including JCPenney, Forever 21, Eddie Bauer, Brooks Brothers, Nine West, and Aeropostale.
  • Authentic Brands also owns the license to more than 30 brands.
  • Authentic Brands will go public in an IPO that may value the company at $10 billion.
  • Authentic Brands reported total revenue of $489 million and net income of $225 million in 2020.

Authentic Brands, which is headquartered in New York, was founded in 2010 by Toronto-based Jamie Salter, who serves as its chairman and CEO. Salter's four sons also are employed by Authentic Brands, including Corey Salter who serves as its chief operating officer (COO).

Jamie Salter previously was CEO of Hilco Consumer Capital (HCC), which took brands such as instant photography pioneer Polaroid and specialty retailer Sharper Image out of bankruptcy. Hilco describes itself as: "a leading private equity firm that makes strategic investments in consumer product retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers and intellectual property. Our core focus is on North American companies with strong consumer brands."

The preliminary prospectus filed by Authentic Brands for its IPO does not specify an anticipated offering price or date for the shares, nor does it place a valuation on the company. However, it is known that the offering will include two share classes, with class A shares being sold to the general public and class B shares, which will have greater voting rights, being issued to Jamie Salter and his key associates.

While the preliminary prospectus indicates that the IPO is expected to raise $100 million, this is widely viewed as merely a placeholder amount that is expected to change significantly. Bloomberg estimates that Authentic Brands actually could be worth about $10 billion when its IPO finally comes to market, roughly double an estimated valuation of $4 billion to $5 billion in 2019.

Authentic Brands Company Financials

The table below presents key financial data for Authentic Brands, for the most recent reported year, with comparisons to the prior year.

Authentic Brands Key Financials: Most Recent Years
Metric Full Year 2020 Full Year 2019
Total Revenue $488.9 million $480.4 million
Net Income $225.3 million $96.5 million
Licensing Revenue $471.3 million $469.3 million
Source: Authentic Brands S-1 Filing

The results for full year 2019 included a realized loss on investments of $93.9 million, whereas the company reported a gain of $0.7 million in 2020. The table below presents the same key financial data as shown above, but for the most recent reported quarter, with comparisons to the same quarter in the previous year.

Authentic Brands Key Financials: Most Recent Quarter
Metric Q1 2021 Q1 2020
Total Revenue $160.1 million $120.5 million
Net Income $294.9 million $60.8 million
Licensing Revenue $153.3 million $117.4 million
Source: Authentic Brands S-1 Filing

Net income for Q1 2021 included $201.0 million of equity in net income of investments accounted for under the equity method. In Q1 2020, this figure was a loss of $35.9 million.

Among the key achievements cited by management for the period from 2016 through 2020 were an increase in revenue from $165 million to $489 million, representing a CAGR of 31%. Meanwhile, net income attributable to Authentic Brands Group grew from $45 million to $211 million, for a CAGR of 47%.

Additional Company Details

Authentic Brands has partnered with mall owner Simon Property Group (SPG) in the acquisitions of several retailers, including JCPenney, Forever 21, and Aeropostale. The largest shareholders in Authentic Brands include chairman and CEO Jamie Salter, Simon Property Group, BlackRock (BLK), Leonard Green & Partners, Lion Capital, and General Atlantic.

The Bottom Line

The details of the Authentic Brands Group IPO are still a work in process. The lead underwriters are Bank of America (BAC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), and Goldman Sachs Group (GS).

With the accelerating rise of e-commerce continuing to damage the prospects of traditional brick-and-mortar stores, the upcoming Authentic Brands Group IPO represents something of a contrarian play, partially a bet that physical retailers still offer value, especially if they can be acquired at attractive beaten-down prices. Moreover, the importance of licensing fees to Authentic Brands (representing roughly 96% or more of total revenues) means that the company's value rests largely within the brands themselves, and not in specific distribution channels.

Article Sources
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  1. Seeking Alpha. "Forever 21, Brooks Brothers owner Authentic Brands files for IPO,"

  2. The Wall Street Journal. "Owner of Forever 21, JCPenney Files to Go Public,"

  3. Hilco Consumer Capital. "LinkedIn Profile,"

  4. Bloomberg. "Authentic Brands Files for IPO Taking Forever 21 Owner Public,"

  5. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "Authentic Brands Group Inc. Form S-1," Pages 35-36.

  6. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "Authentic Brands Group Inc. Form S-1," Page 4.

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