VF Corp Buys Supreme for $2.1 Billion, Opens Door to Future Licensing
VF Corp, the parent company of The North Face, Vans, Timberland, JanSport, Dickies and more, has purchased Supreme for more than $2.1 billion.
We knew the Supreme resale game was crazy, but this is ridiculous.
Jokes aside, this is pretty big news for Supreme and the greater apparel world, as the New York-based streetwear and skate brand has grown to be a monolith of hype. Anything the block red logo touches instantly becomes a highly sought after commodity. It doesn’t matter if it’s a T-shirt, a hoodie, a stapler or Oreos. If it says “Supreme,” it’s worth something.
To demonstrate just how much the company’s value has grown in recent years, let's compare it to its last sale. In 2017, The Carlyle Group bought a 50 percent interest in the Supreme brand for $500 million. If the company was worth $1 billion in 2017, that’s a more than 100 percent value increase in just over three years.
“VF is the ideal steward to honor the authentic heritage of this cultural lifestyle brand while providing the opportunity to leverage our scale and expertise to enable sustainable long-term growth,” Steve Rendle, chairman, president and CEO of VF Corp told High Snobiety. “The acquisition of the Supreme brand is further validation of our vision and strategy to further evolve our portfolio of brands to align with the total addressable market opportunities we see driving the apparel and footwear sector.”
This is interesting not just because it's a huge acquisition, but also because of the branding implications. Companies like Dickies, The North Face, JanSport and Eastpak are very visible in the branded merchandise world. And Vans regularly does licensed collaborations with companies like Disney and National Geographic.
— JasonTheWorldisYours (@ColoredSpaces) November 10, 2020
It's likely that, under VF Corp, the ever-elusive and exclusive Supreme logo could share the spotlight with other brands on licensed goods.
Actually, there’s very good reason to believe that. Supreme has already done those kinds of things on its own. But there’s also this choice nugget from High Snobiety:
VF Corp said the acquisition would give Supreme the "opportunities to leverage its global supply chain, international platforms, digital capabilities and consumer understanding." It wouldn't, it added, limit Supreme to strictly work collaboratively with brands within the VF portfolio, allowing it to continue the collaboration strategy to include unorthodox partnerships as seen in recent years and have included everyone from Supreme-branded Crest toothpaste and Braun to New York's metro network MTA and Coleman mini bikes. In part, Supreme will provide VF Corp with deeper access to attractive consumer segments that apply to many of VF’s existing brands.
We hear and use the phrase “perceived value” all the time in promo. A lot of time it’s referring to something like an electronics product or upscale apparel item that gives off the impression that it's worth a lot. It looks expensive. It feels expensive. It must be nice.
The Supreme name alone indicates value and quality. If you can partner a client’s name with Supreme for a branded product, you take an apparel item or bag or whatever to another level not really seen in the promotional products space before. We'll see how that plays out for Supreme under its new owners.