VF to Sell Nautica to Authentic Brands
Apparel giant VF Corp. has entered a definitive agreement to sell its Nautica brand to Authentic Brands Group. The deal is expected to close by the end of this year.
The news does not come as a surprise. In its 2017 annual report, Greensboro, NC-based VF announced plans to sell off the brand as part of a reengineering of its portfolio. Over the past two years, VF has increased its focus on workwear and natural fiber apparel. The 25-year-old Nautica brand, which VF acquired in 2003, markets mid-tier to high-end apparel, accessories, fragrances, watches and home products.
Authentic Brands is a brand development, marketing and entertainment company. Its portfolio includes lifestyle, celebrity and entertainment brands such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Shaquille O’Neal, Dr. J, Thalia, Aeropostale, Juicy Couture, Jones New York and Frederick’s of Hollywood.
“As part of VF’s global business strategy, our highest priority is to actively manage our portfolio to ensure its composition positions us to accelerate growth,” said chief executive officer Steve Rendle. “This marks another example of how we’re delivering on our commitment. Nautica is an iconic, globally recognized brand and Authentic Brands is the ideal owner to guide its next phase of growth.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Nautica to the ABG portfolio and are ready to take the helm of this classic American brand,” added Jamie Salter, CEO of ABG.
In April 2017, VF sold its Licensed Sports Group, which included the Majestic brand. In late 2017, it sold the assets of the JanSport collegiate business. These two divestitures completed VF’s plan to completely exit the licensing business. In August 2016, VF sold its Contemporary Brands businesses, which included the 7 For All Mankind, Splendid, and Ella Moss labels.
VF has made several recent acquisitions as well. Last October, it purchased Williamson-Dickie and its five workwear brands. They joined six workwear labels that were already part of the portfolio. “VF is now a global leader in workwear, allowing us to reach a broader set of consumers and to outfit workers around the world,” said the company's annual report.
Later in 2017, VF acquired Icebreaker Holdings. Its products are based on merino wool as well as plant-based and recycled fibers, making Icebreaker a natural complement to VF’s Smartwool label.
VF Corp. ranked 50th on CGT's list of the "Top 100 Consumer Goods Companies" for 2017.