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M&A & Partnerships: December 2019

We break down this week’s must-know news in mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships. Contact the Editor at

Direct contact information is made available through TLL’s Licensing Sourcebook Online (subscription required).

The National Football League (NFL), Nike, and Fanatics renew a 2018 agreement in the form of a new global partnership that gives Fanatics the exclusive consumer product licensing rights to manufacture and distribute all Nike NFL adult products worldwide. Under the rehashed three-way agreement, Nike outfits NFL the players and coaches while Fanatics outfits the fans.

French esports organization GamersOrigin appoints TF1 Licences to handle its licensing and sponsorships.

Le Tote acquires Lord & Taylor for $100 million in an effort to fast track its growth as the fashion rental startup heads for an IPO in the next two to three years. Le Tote plans to reformat Lord & Taylor’s 38 bricks-and-mortar stores and migrate its systems onto a unified technology platform with the goal of bringing the two companies to profitaility within the next 12 months.

Authentic Brands Group (ABG), in partnership with B. Riley Financial, emerges as the successful bidder with a $271 million put to purchase the intellectual property of Barneys New York, including Barneys, FiveSeventyFive, Connor New York, Freds, Freds Foods, The High End, and The Drop. ABG will “selectively license” the brand for merchandise worldwide.

ABG’s initial focus for the global luxury retailer and lifestyle brand will be on high fashion collaborations, namesake products, lively dining, and premium shopping experiences. The Barneys brand narrative will be powered by Winston, ABG’s proprietary network of creators, curators, and connectors, who have a combined reach of more than 150 million followers on social media. Saks Fifth Avenue will become the retail partner for the brand in the U.S. and Canada; ABG will also maintain Barneys’ current licensing agreement with Seven & i Holdings (the parentco of the 7-Eleven convenience stores) ,which operates 12 Barneys retail stores in Japan.

Saks Fifth Avenue will be the “first order of business” in robooting the Barneys brand with a series of shop-in-shops starting with the fifth floor of Saks Fifth Avenue’s newly renovated New York City flagship and extending across North America—some as large as 50,000 sq. ft, others as small as 5,000 sq. ft. Growth markets include Korea, China, the U.K., the Middle East, Germany, Turkey, Israel, and Russia. Most of Barneys’ U.S. bricks-and-mortar locations will close.

Hachette Livre enters into exclusive negotiations to acquire majority control of Blackrock Games, the third-largest board game distributor in France. Current management will remain in place and continue to run the company.

Asmodee Group aquires lui-meme, a French game publisher specializing in party games.

Hasbro is raising $875 million through a sale of its common stock; the money is being raised, in part, to finance the toyco’s proposed acquisition of Entertainment One (eOne). In public filings, Hasbro indicated that the proposed merger with eOne would create $130 million in cost synergies by 2022, driven in part by cost savings from moving a significant portion of eOne’s toy business in-house (in-sourcing) and enhancing the profitability of eOne’s licensing and merchandising activities by utilizing Hasbro’s “capabilities in those areas” as well as “bringing eOne’s creative, film and television capabilities to bear on an expanded portfolio of intellectual property.”



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