First, it was Vans circling the beleaguered Boardriders Inc, owner of Billabong, Quiksilver and RVCA, then Authentic, “a robust house that includes the licensing rights to Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali” and now, owner of Hurley, Bluestar Alliance, is picking over the bones.
The latest deal with Authentic shot itself, we’re told, ‘cause current owner of Boardriders Inc, Oaketree, wouldn’t let go of the retail outlets, ironic considering all that dang bricks and mortar was a millstone around Billabong’s neck as sales shifted online.
Those of an advanced age will remember the glorious day in 2002 when Bob Hurley sold his eponymous brand to Nike for a hundred and twenty mill who in turn kicked it to the brand management company Bluestar Alliance, maker of clothes for the” confident, sexy modern woman!”
The way Bluestar works is it identifies brands it wants to buy and once they get the keys, “our team of experts embark on a complete and thorough understanding of the brand’s potential channels of distribution and price point strategies. We create tools such as brand development profiles, trend guides, style guides and marketing strategies. These marketing materials portray graphic illustrations and a strategic marketing road map to enhance consumer brand recognition.”
In layman’s terms, throw a logo on anything that moves, inflatable pool toys, beard oil, whatever dumb stuff people will buy ’cause it has a heritage banner on it.
If Bluestar gets the keys to the three iconic brands, it’ll create the greatest assemblage of surf brands ever created, rivalling even those honied days a decade or so ago when Billabong and Quik were throwing millions at even the silliest of provincial surf brands.