Jamie Salter has a knack for sports icons: his company, Authentic Brands Group (ABG), runs names like Muhammad Ali and Shaquille O’Neal. Last night, it added another brand to its portfolio: ABG announced the purchase of Sports Illustrated intellectual property from Meredith Corporation for $ 110 million.
“As one of the most iconic brands in sports media, Sports Illustrated is a cultural hub with tremendous growth opportunities through its growing digital, television and social platforms and the industry’s leading print magazine,” said Salter, to which Forbes has dedicated a cover story last fall. “The Sports Illustrated name has enabled the brand to become a leader in lifestyle and entertainment.”
ABG intends to focus on expanding the brand in areas such as live events, gambling, esports and video. Meredith has now raised about $ 450 million from the sale of Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated in fiscal 2019.
“In addition to continuing to do independent and award-winning journalism and storytelling – what Jamie Salter described as Sports Illustrated’s core business – we are now perfectly positioned, with the support and resources of ABG, to thrive in many other spaces,” he said. added Chris Stone, editor-in-chief of Sports Illustrated.
The world of sport was for a long time the field of activity of the 56-year-old Salter. He started in the 1980s by selling windsurfing equipment before entering the snowboard business, before settling into the world of licensing. Salter launched ABG in 2010 with $ 250 million raised primarily by private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners and billionaires including George Soros and the Walton family.
Salter has made his name for those with a penchant for recognizable brands – from clothing labels like Juicy Couture and Hickey Freeman to stars like Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali. In 2015, a $ 150 million deal gave Salter the majority of Elvis Presley’s business (including a piece of the Graceland estate).
More recently, Salter has struck deals with living stars such as Shaquille O’Neal, who became an equal partner with him on the Shaq brand in late 2015 in exchange for a package that included a stock exchange. Salter said last fall that both ABG’s and Shaq’s businesses have grown in triple digits, as Shaq’s face continues to appear in commercials for everything from The General auto insurance to IcyHot.
Quantity, however, isn’t always Salter’s priority. And a look at his plans for another iconic name could offer clues to his strategy for Sports Illustrated. When he bought 80% of the Marilyn Monroe estate in 2012 for between $ 20 and $ 30 million, he cut his licensing deals from $ 300 to $ 80, focusing on the safety of high-end ones with artists from the caliber of Chanel.
“You can sell X quantities of Marilyn Monroe perfume at a mass retailer, or you can make a deal with Chanel # 5,” Salter said. “An agreement that doesn’t pay as much, but I think it’s important for the brand because it gives a halo effect. And the truth is, she wore Chanel No.5. “