Boardriders’ sale to Authentic Brands Group officially closed Friday in a deal that shifts ownership of some of the industry’s largest core surf and skate brands to a new parent.
“Authentic Brands Group is pleased to confirm the completion of its purchase of world-renowned super brands Quiksilver, Billabong, Roxy, RVCA, DC Shoes, Element, VonZipper, Honolua, and Boardriders,” Authentic said in a statement. “Each brand comes with significant and recognized presence in the action sports and lifestyle industries.”
The company went on to say it will soon reveal the “roster of best-in-class partners around the world” that will help take the brands in the portfolio to “their next stage of growth.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, a report from Moody’s earlier this year pegged the purchase price at $1.25 billion.
The Boardriders portfolio generates revenue of about $1.7 billion and counts more than 500 company-owned stores and 35 country-specific online shops.
Authentic founder, CEO, and Chair Jamie Salter was not available for comment on the deal and the company declined to confirm any prior reporting by The Daily’s sister media company Shop Eat Surf on future licensees as of Friday morning.
Authentic owns more than 50 brands and has expanded into sectors such as media, outdoor, events, and studios. Brands in the Authentic portfolio include Reebok, Volcom, Spyder, Sports Illustrated, Nautica, Eddie Bauer, Lucky Brand, Brooks Brothers, and many more.
An Unprecedented Surf Industry Deal
The deal for the surf industry is largely without compare, some say.
“It’s pretty unprecedented because of the importance of the brands that are involved,” Lost Clothing co-owner and Gotcha co-founder Joel Cooper told Shop Eat Surf earlier this year in speaking about the deal. “The closest that you could actually try and compare it to is Boardriders itself. Billabong and Quiksilver were the biggest companies and each competed against each other being major players in the industry. And they became Boardriders. This is completely different because (with the formation of Boardriders) the brands remained basically in the hands of people in the surf industry. Now we’re getting companies out of New York who are not involved in the industry. But I would just say it really and truly depends on what the marketing and distribution policy is to really see the impact.”
Cooper went on to say it would be unfair to speculate on the outcome of the deal without knowing Authentic’s actual strategy for the brands.
PT Townend, former pro-surfer and surf industry advisor, pointed to Volcom as a good indication of where things could go. Liberated Brands, formed by Volcom management and Authentic in 2019, is the operating company for Volcom and its master licensee. Authentic, meanwhile, owns the brand’s trademarks and intellectual property.
“They’ve kept Volcom pretty cool,” Townend said. “But are they going to blow one of the other brands out, so you see them everywhere from Big 5 to Kohl’s and then still try to hold onto specialty? We don’t know what Authentic might decide to do.”
Based on prior Shop Eat Surf reporting, Liberated will also now take on the licenses for Billabong and RVCA in North America, in addition to nearly all the Boardriders’ brands’ direct e-commerce and brick-and-mortar business in the region.
More Boardriders Licensing Information
Shop Eat Surf reported in July that O5 Apparel is expected to take on the license for Quiksilver men’s apparel at wholesale, according to employees in attendance at a town hall meeting on the acquisition. Meanwhile, Aldo was revealed as the new Roxy footwear licensee, Levy Group for Roxy swimwear and performance outerwear, and 2253 for the brand’s sportswear.
Additionally, Liberated Brands is expected to take on the wetsuit business for Quiksilver, Roxy, Billabong, and RVCA, according to sources speaking on condition of anonymity.
Wiesner Products is expected to handle men’s apparel for Element and categories such as underwear, socks, and sleepwear for several Boardriders brands.
No licensee has yet been named for DC Shoes and VonZipper, according to sources inside Boardriders.
The new licensees are expected to take over shipping of orders beginning March 25, 2024, according to a recently circulated memo to retailers reviewed by Shop Eat Surf.
More updates from the company are anticipated as Boardriders heads into an approximately six-month transitional period.