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Business

M&A & Legal

Authentic Brands Group (ABG) definitively agrees to purchase the American lifestyle brand Nautica from VF Corp. This is ABG’s largest brand acquisition to date, and will propel its portfolio to nearly $7 billion in global retail sales—with the ultimate goal of achieving $10 billion in global retail sales worldwide by 2020. Nautica boasts over $1.2 billion in annual retail sales through 5,000-plus global points of sale, including 270 freestanding stores, and counts over 40 licensing partners globally.

ABG will take on Nautica’s brand marketing and licensing functions. Other aspects of the operation will move into Aero OpCo, the operating partner for Aéropostale. Aero OpCo will assume the role of Nautica’s core licensee and operating partner, managing the brand’s wholesale, 70-plus U.S. retail stores, ecommerce, product development and other functions.

Separately, ABG Shanghai breaks ground this month with other locations slated to open in London, Mexico City, and Los Angeles in 2018.

Furr-real?

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors passes an ordinance banning the sale of new fur items, making it the largest city in the U.S. to do so. Retailers that sell apparel or accessories with new fur will face a $500 fine per violation, with the amount escalating with additional violations. The ban applies to online orders as well.

Ready, Player, One Step Closer to China

Ubisoft will not be taken over by Vivendi, the French media conglomerate and former owner of Activision-Blizzard (until that company spent $5.83 billion to gain its independence in 2013). Ubisoft bought out Vivendi’s 27.3% stake in a deal valued at $2.45 billion, or twice what Vivendi paid originally, with the help of Tencent (acquiring 5% of capital) and the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan (3.4% of capital).

Separately, Ubisoft and Tencent strike a deal where Tencent will operate, publish, and promote several of Ubisoft’s PC and mobile titles in the Chinese market. It’s an opportunity for Ubisoft to reach an estimated 500 million players in the country through one of the largest, most active social networks in the world.

Tencent already has a significant footprint in the Western market—it owns League of Legends developer Riot Games, a sizable chunk of Fortnite developer and Unreal Engine developer Epic Games, the Chinese publishing rights to PUBG, and a controlling stake in Clash of Clans maker Supercell (84.3% stake acquired for $8.6 billion in 2016). However, Tencent has agreed not to increase its share ownership or voting rights in Ubisoft.

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