Reebok Owner ABG to Acquire Ted Baker, Plans North American Expansion

Authentic Brands Group (ABG) is the new owner of London-based fashion brand Ted Baker.

As reported, ABG revealed on Tuesday morning that it has signed a deal to purchase the U.K.-based brand for 110 pence a share, or around £211 million (approximately $255 million based on current exchange rate) in total, a price that is about one-third lower than the 160 pence a share the company had originally expected.

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The deal is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2022.

In a filing to the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday, Ted Baker noted that ABG is paying an 18% premium to the 93.10 pence share price at close of business on Aug. 15, the last business day before the announcement.

“Ted Baker is a highly regarded, uniquely British brand whose strong fashion credibility resonates with consumers around the world,” founder, chairman and CEO of ABG Jamie Salter said in a statement. “We are excited to build on the brand’s global foundation through a business model focused on licensing, wholesale, retail, digital and strategic marketing partnerships. Under ABG’s ownership, we believe that Ted Baker is poised for continued growth and success.”

“The Ted Baker Board believes that ABG will be a strong and supportive owner of the business,” Helena Feltham, interim chair of Ted Baker added. “We are confident that with ABG’s experience, reach and investment, the Ted Baker brand will be capable of achieving its long-term global potential.”

After the completion of Ted Baker, ABG said it plans to separate the business into an intellectual property holding company to be controlled by ABG; and one or more operating companies which would manage Ted Baker’s physical retail, e-commerce and wholesale operations.

ABG said it will also “explore options” regarding the transfer of full, or partial, ownership and control of some, or all, of those future operating companies to partners with established operating businesses.

The U.S. clothing giant said there are “significant growth opportunities” for Ted Baker in North America given the brand’s “strong consumer recognition in this market.”

This news comes months after it was reported that ABG withdrew from the race to acquire the fashion firm. Ted Baker said in a public statement in June that it was informed that its “preferred counterparty” would no longer proceed with an offer to acquire the brand.

In late May, Ted Baker announced that its board has selected a party with which to move forward in a sale process. Though the brand never named ABG, the New York-based powerhouse was reportedly one of multiple interested parties who engaged with Ted Baker for a possible sale, Sky News reported in April. According to the report, it was unclear if ABG had submitted a formal offer, but it was among other interested companies exploring its options.

“The counterparty indicated that its reason for not proceeding was not linked to its due diligence review of the company,” Ted Baker said in its May statement, adding that the company had received “a number of other non-binding proposals” which were to be scrutinized.

Ted Baker said in a public statement in April that it had entered into a process to put itself up for sale. The company also said it had received two unsolicited non-binding proposals from Sycamore Partners to acquire the company, which were rejected due to the way in which they each “significantly undervalued” the company.

Ted Baker previously said it received an improved offer from Sycamore, as well as a third offer from another party. Ted Baker said it would limit its engagement with companies that “understand and value the full potential of this unique brand.”

At the end of May, Ted Baker narrowed its pretax losses in fiscal 2022 to 44.1 million pounds from 107.7 million pounds in the previous year. Group sales in the first quarter of the year were up 20% compared with last year, although they are 37% lower than the corresponding period in 2020.

The company said it had an “encouraging” start to the second quarter, with improvement in sales trends in the U.K. and European Union. The North America retail business, however, has been “adversely impacted” by product availability and disruption following the transition to the e-commerce platform.

ABG’s roster of brands includes Forever 21, Barneys New York, J.C. Penney, Reebok, Muhammad Ali, Shaquille O’Neal, Marilyn Monroe and most recently, David Beckham’s global brand. ABG’s value now exceeds $21 billion as measured by annual retail sales.

ABG, led by Salter and president and CMO Nick Woodhouse, was awarded Company of the Year in Footwear News’ Annual Achievement Awards in New York in November.

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