Two of MMA’s top apparel lines have been sold. News broke earlier today that TapouT and Silver Star have been acquired by Jamie Salter and his Toronto-based Authentic Brands Group LLC. With MMA still flourishing, Salter plans to expand the lines and believes they can double sales in the coming year.
Salter’s Toronto-based Authentic Brands Group LLC is betting the three labels — TapouT, Silver Star Casting Co. and Hitman Fight Gear — are ripe for expansion as mixed martial arts tightens its grip on the mainstream. J.C. Penney Co., Kohl’s Corp. and Macy’s Inc. already sell some of the gear, and the new owners and founders are looking to add sales both at home and overseas.
“These are some of the most exciting brands I’ve seen in years,” Salter said in a telephone interview. “The popularity of mixed martial arts and the UFC is soaring around the world. The last time I saw a sport with this much potential was 20 years ago with snowboarding.”
Last year, TapouT introduced a mid-tier brand, TapouT MPS, to supplement sales to department stores, and is weighing a discount line that could sell at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other mass chains, Caldwell said. TapouT’s Hitman brand already sells at Sears Holdings Corp.’s Kmart stores. Salter predicts he’ll double revenues in the next two years.
Salter believes they’re getting into “the right business at the right time.”
“This sport is still in its infancy,” ABG chairman and CEO Jamie Salter stated. “We strategically chose these acquisitions as our first big move because we’re getting into the right business at the right time. We’re looking forward to working with the best brands and the best athletes in the world as we transition these two companies into global lifestyle brands with our retail and licensing partners.”
The terms of the deal were not made public, but it does include TapouT and Silver Star sub-brands Tapout MPS, Hitman Fight Gear and Iron Star.
Interestingly, Dan “Punkass” Caldwell revealed there were many buyers interested in TapouT, but they ultimately went with ABG because Salter wanted them to stay involved in the company. Why anyone wouldn’t want Punkass, Skyscrape and in memory, Mask, to remain the faces of TapouT is beyond me. They not only represent the TapouT brand, they are the TapouT brand. Their continued involvement and support in the MMA community is a major reason they’re so successful and why the brand will continue to prosper.
Silver Star founder, Luke Burrett, added, “We’ve been fierce competitors with TapouT, and now that we’re under the same roof we’ll be unstoppable.”