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Authentic Brands Group could go public within 18 months

Illustration of an infinite stack of Wall St. bulls.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Authentic Brands Group could be a public company within the next 18 months, CEO Jamie Salter said at the ICR Conference being held in Orlando.

Why it matters: While still shaky, the IPO market is expected to rebound this year.

Details: Temasek and QIA quietly invested in Authentic at the end of 2023 at an $18 billion valuation, the CEO said, which had not previously been announced.

  • "At some point we have to go public," Salter said during a presentation at the conference.

Yes, but: Salter noted the company has filed to go public twice before — and was taken over twice instead.

  • Alternatively the company could end up getting acquired by Disney or Amazon.
  • Even Authentic licensing partner Shein could be a buyer if the fast fashion giant goes public successfully, Salter said — reiterating what he told Axios in October.

Zoom in: The brand management firm's acquisition strategy of acquiring brands' intellectual property, including Reebok, has propelled Authentic to be one of the largest apparel companies in the world.

  • "We are hungry for large deals," Salter said during his presentation, noting these are defined as transactions valued between $2 billion and $3 billion.

By the numbers: Authentic is generating nearly $30 billion in sales at retail globally, Salter said.

  • It also generated $1.17 billion in EBITDA in 2023 compared to the $800 million it generated in 2022, Salter said at the conference.
  • The $1.17 billion in EBITDA constitutes 78% of the company's $1.5 billion in revenue, which is essentially royalties.
  • Plus, Authentic has $3 billion in debt on its balance sheet.

What's next: Authentic could triple its EBITDA on Authentic.com, a website it quietly launched in November, Salter says.

  • Typically Authentic collects a royalty rate of about 5% of revenue, but on its new website, the royalty rate increases to 15%.
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