BlackRock set to take major stake in Sports Illustrated owner Authentic Brands


BlackRock Inc. is poised to become the largest shareholder of the company that owns brands including Sports Illustrated, Nine West and Aéropostale in the first deal for the investment giant’s new private-equity fund, according to people familiar with the matter.


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  is taking a stake in Authentic Brands Group LLC that values the closely held brand development, marketing and entertainment company at more than $4 billion including debt, the people said.

It couldn’t be learned how big of a stake BlackRock is taking but it’s set to replace private-equity firm Leonard Green & Partners as Authentic Brands’ largest shareholder. Leonard Green and other shareholders, including private-equity firms General Atlantic and Lion Capital LLP, will remain invested but will sell down their stakes to make room for BlackRock, the people said. Authentic Brands’ management, led by Chief Executive Jamie Salter, will also continue to own a significant stake, the people said.

BlackRock, the world’s biggest money manager, has been trying to diversify away from exchange-traded and index funds, which comprised two-thirds of its roughly $6 trillion in assets and were responsible for about 40% of its revenue in 2018, and into business lines that allow it to lock up money for longer and charge higher fees.

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