ABG’s acquisition centers on the brand’s intellectual property, with Volcom becoming part of the lifestyle platform. Volcom is best known as an action sports lifestyle brand in the category of youth culture. The brand is focused on board sports, such as skate, surf and snow. The acquisition boosts the value of ABG’s portfolio to more than $9.3 billion in annual retail sales.
The lifestyle brand for men, women and kids combines board sports with music and art, and its merchandise includes apparel, outerwear, footwear and accessories that combine functionality with athletic performance. The operation has nearly 100 retail stores globally and is distributed in 60 countries.
Because the brand management firm owns IP assets and focuses on finding the right licensing partners for the brand, it took on a similar operating structure with Volcom as it did when it acquired teen retailer Aéropostale. ABG has a minority stake in Liberated Brands, the newly-formed operating company for Volcom. The majority stake is owned by Volcom’s management team, which includes Tom Hymel, Volcom’s chief operating officer. Under the arrangement, Volcom’s operations in the U.S., France, Australia and Japan will remain as is, and it will continue with oversight of the brand’s product development, athlete marketing and running the retail and wholesales businesses worldwide.
What ABG brings to the table will be an in-depth focus on the expansion of brand awareness and new business opportunities. The new Liberated Brands platform will also play a role in the international expansion of some of the other brands under ABG’s umbrella.
Jamie Salter, chairman and CEO of ABG, said, “For nearly three decades the Volcom family has created one of the most iconic brands in the skate, surf and snow markets. During the last few years, the brand has been consistently gaining traction with broader audiences around the world, while staying true to its core.”
Nick Woodhouse, ABG’s president and chief marketing officer, said, “Liberated Brands’ operational expertise combined with ABG’s brand building know-how and a global network of best-in-class partners, make an unstoppable combination. We look forward to joining forces to take this brand to new heights.”
According to Hymel, “ABG has built an impressive portfolio by being a powerhouse in brand development and marketing. Jamie and his team share our vision and excite for Volcom’s long-term growth and we are excited to be a part of this next chapter for the brand.”
The two firms, ABG and Liberated Brands, said they plan to invest in and build on the brand’s core men’s and snow businesses, as well as fuel the growth of its women’s and kids’ categories in North America and key international markets. ABG’s plan is to expand the brand narrative through targeted digital campaigns and key influencer partnerships in the millennial and Gen Z communities.
Kering acquired Volcom in 2011. With the brand’s sale, Kering is now a pure luxury conglomerate.