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LICENSING BY THE NUMBERS

Tis the Season for Acquisitions

By Karina Masolova

Companies were treating themselves this holiday season, with number of acquisitions making headlines. Here are some of the top buys:

Sequential Brands Group restructured its agreement with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in a new 10 year contract to acquire all outstanding shares of the media company. Sequential expects to generate nearly $3.75 billion in annual global retail sales from its combined portfolio of consumer brands in the home, fashion, lifestyle and active categories. The Martha Stewart and Emeril brands alone are estimated to achieve $75 million in annual merchandising royalty revenue. A small fraction of Martha employees were fired from editorial, digital and video departments.

Newell Rubbermaid acquired Jarden Corp. for $15 billion to create a combined entity that is projected to become a $16 billion consumer goods company. The deal combines the two companies’ brand portfolios to create Newell Brands.

Nautilus acquired Octane Fitness for $115 million. The company expects to see earnings from the brand beginning in the first quarter of 2016.

Stallion Sport and InterSport Corp. have acquired the global rights to Wham-O from Wham-O Holding Ltd., the manufacturer of Frisbee, the Original Slip ‘N Slide, Hula Hoop and Hacky Sack. The new owners plan to position Wham-O products back at the forefront of mass, sporting goods and specialty retailers.

Activision Blizzard acquired Major League Gaming, an organiser of gaming tournaments, at a rumored $46 million price tag in a move calculated to expand its reach in esports. With an esports audience of 100 million unique viewers annually, the game publisher aims to create the “ESPN of esports.”

OluKai, the Hawaii-inspired footwear brand, has acquired ocean performance eyewear brand Kaenon for an undisclosed sum. Kaenon will remain a separate entity.

Hudson’s Bay acquired Gilt Groupe for $250 million in cash; the purchase is expected to close Feb. 1. Hudson’s Bay plans to fold the luxury flash-sale site into its Saks Off 5th division to further develop its all-channel retail model. The buy will add $500 million to the retailer’s 2016 sales with an additional contribution of $40 million by 2017.

Not so Merry

Brand management company Iconix has until June to complete a refinancing of its $300 million debt obligation—all as it endures an SEC investigation, shareholder lawsuits and falling revenues (particularly for its men’s fashion and sports brands). A WWD feature laid blame at former CEO Neil Cole’s misguided management and suspicious accounting practices stemming from the firm’s IP acquisition practices. Sports Direct—a U.K. sports retailer whose licensing division IBML manages a portfolio including Dunlop, Slazenger and Everlast—has acquired 9% of the troubled company. Sports Direct has had a long-standing interest in Iconix’s Umbro brand.

Meanwhile, Walt Disney Co. is in talks to sell its half of the Fusion cable TV venture to its partner Univision Communications. The media outlet for English-speaking Hispanic Millennials reportedly lost more than $64 million between 2012 and 2014, in addition to a reported $17.8 million loss for the first half of 2015 by Univision.

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