In October, the brand development and marketing platform closed a deal to acquire the London-based brand for 211 million pounds, or $254 million. And now, it has identified a partner to help grow the business in North America.
Authentic has signed a long-term strategic partnership with OSL Retail Services, an Ontario, Canada-based firm that specializes in retail operations, distribution and digital marketing for a roster of Fortune 500 companies including Walmart Inc. and Samsung.
Under the terms of the deal, the current New York-based Ted Baker team will join OSL where the companies will work together to manage the company’s 80-plus retail stores and concessions, wholesale distribution and the TedBaker.com website in the U.S. and Canada.
Core categories will include men’s and women’s sportswear and outerwear, men’s dress shirts, women’s dresses and fashion handbags that will continue to be designed and supplied by Ted Baker’s headquarters in London.
In its last annual report as a public company, North America had represented 30 percent of Ted Baker’s overall sales of 428 million pounds as of Jan. 29, 2022. An Authentic spokesperson did not reveal what percentage of Ted Baker’s business is in North America. Overall, the brand operates 191 stores, in-store shops and outlets in 49 countries.
“A key component of our growth strategy was to secure a leading North American operator for Ted Baker and continue to preserve the brand’s U.K.-based design hub,” said John McNamara, chief transition officer for Authentic, who has been leading the transition. “This partnership checks an important box within Authentic’s global Ted Baker strategy of assembling a network of leading partners who are operational experts around the world. We are very pleased to partner with retail pioneer OSL on this strategy.”
“Ted Baker is a uniquely British brand with a rich heritage, and we look forward to continuing to elevate the brand’s position in the U.S. and Canada, enhancing its relationship with its existing consumer base and growing its fan base across North America,” said Brett Farren, chief executive officer of OSL.
At the time of the acquisition last year, Jamie Salter, founder, chairman and CEO of Authentic, said the plan for Ted Baker was to build on the brand’s global foundation through a business model focused on licensing, wholesale, retail, digital and strategic marketing partnerships.
Ted Baker was founded by Ray Kelvin in 1987, and for decades was a recognizable brand on the British high street with its quirky, colorful take on the season’s trends. However, the past few years haven’t been easy for the business. Kelvin resigned in 2019 amid staff complaints about inappropriate physical contact (which he always denied), and the company posted a string of profit warnings and suffered accounting and management troubles.
With those issues in the rearview mirror, Ted Baker can settle into the Authentic fold and take advantage of its global expertise.
For the past few years, Authentic has been the primary player in the acquisition market around the world. Most recently, it purchased Reebok from Adidas for 2.1 billion euros, and also partnered with David Beckham to own and manage his business, DB Ventures.
But the company is not stopping there. It is close to finalizing a purchase of Boardriders Inc., the owner of Quiksilver and Billabong, in a deal expected to be in the $1.3 billion range, sources said.
The purchase is still being finalized and the timing keeps getting pushed back but it is not expected to happen this week, according to sources.
The acquisition of Boardriders would fit well into Authentic’s licensing model and would complement its Volcom surf and skate brand as well as some of its other sports-related properties, such as Spyder and Prince.
While reports have circulated about Authentic’s interest in Hunter Boots, a source said the company is not seriously considering a purchase at this time, though it had expressed initial interest. Instead, the focus is on completing the deal for Boardriders and further cementing Ted Baker’s partners.
Authentic owns more than 40 brands in the fashion, lifestyle, entertainment and media worlds including Brooks Brothers, Eddie Bauer, Forever 21, Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, Sports Illustrated, Juicy Couture and Nine West. Its brands generate $24.5 billion in annual retail sales globally and operate more than 10,000 freestanding stores and in-store shops around the world.
OSL was created in 2012 to provide sales solutions in retail, merchandising and customer acquisition and works with more than 2,000 stores across North America.