BlackRock backs lifestyle, marketing firm

Following an investment of more than $1.2 billion, BlackRock now holds the biggest stake in the new owner of Sports Illustrated magazine.

Entities affiliated with BlackRock's Long Term Private Capital (LTPC) fund made a strategic investment in Authentic Brands Group, home to a portfolio of some of the world's most iconic brands, including Sports Illustrated which it acquired in May this year.

As the largest investor in the group, BlackRock's LTPC will work closely with Authentic Brands' management. Other investors in the group include General Atlantic and former professional basketballer Shaquille O'Neal.

Founded in 2010, Authentic Brands is a brand development, marketing and entertainment company with over 50 brands generating about US$10 billion in annual revenue. Brands within the group's portfolio include Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali, Elvis Presley, Greg Norman, Nine West, Prince and Juicy Couture.

It is the first investment to be made by LTPC.

"The strategic investment by LTPC is a testament to the success we have had building a leading platform for the ownership and development of brand and media content," Authentic Brands chair and chief executive Jamie Salter said.

"We believe BlackRock's scale, global footprint and digital capabilities will enable us to build out our organisation and continue our domestic and international growth trajectory. This investment marks an important and exciting next phase of expansion for ABG."

Also commenting, LTPC senior team member Colm Lanigan said: "ABG is an innovator in the licensing and branding industry. We have built a close relationship with Jamie and Nick over the past 10 years as they've established this company as a leader in the licensing industry by successfully capitalising on trends and continuing to innovate in the evolving consumer space."

"They have built a best-in-class business model and grown it with flawless execution."

Lanigan said there is substantial growth still ahead for ABG and LTPC looks forward to building a global platform comprising fashion, health and wellness, sports, culture and entertainment.

Likewise, global head of LTPC Andre Bourbonnais said he is delighted to have Authentic Brands as LTPC's first investment.

"ABG represents exactly the type of high-quality business run by a proven management team that we target with our investment strategy. ABG will have the full support of the LTPC team, our operating partners and the BlackRock platform. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship," he said.

Read more: BlackRockAndre BourbonnaisAuthentic Brands GroupColm LaniganJamie SalterLong Term Private Capital
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