PE-backed ThreeSixty buys The Sharper Image

ThreeSixty Group Inc, which is backed by AEA Investors LP, has acquired The Sharper Image, a provider of consumers home electronics, air purifiers, gifts and other high-tech lifestyle products. The seller was Iconix Brand Group Inc. No financial terms were disclosed.


IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ThreeSixty Group, Inc. (“ThreeSixty” or the “Company”), a leading provider of branded consumer products to the nation’s largest retailers, announced today that it has acquired The Sharper Image® brand and intellectual property assets from Iconix Brand Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ICON).

Founded in 1977, Sharper Image is best known for its one-of-a-kind, innovative products offered across the lifestyle, gift, gadget, electronics, wellness, fitness and travel categories. Sharper Image products are sold nationwide through a variety of channels, including at better department and specialty stores and direct to consumer through the Sharper Image catalog and e-commerce website, Through MerchSource, its U.S. retail-facing division, ThreeSixty has licensed the Sharper Image brand from Iconix since 2008 across a variety of product categories, including radio controlled drones, men’s gifts and gadgets, electronics, slippers and home décor, and is currently the largest licensee of the brand. Through the strong growth of ThreeSixty and other licensees, Sharper Image maintains high consumer awareness and strong consumer affinity as a trusted source of unique, highly innovative products.

“Sharper Image is synonymous with innovation and unique, ’giftable’ product designs offered across a wide variety of consumer product categories,” said Kirk McLean, co-founder of ThreeSixty Group. “As a licensee of the brand for almost ten years, we understand the power of the Sharper Image name and see tremendous opportunity to leverage our platform to continue this tradition of innovation. As the new brand owner, we are planning to increase our strategic investments in product development, design and marketing while exploring expanding into new categories and geographies to realize the full potential of this iconic brand. We believe strongly that these investments will unlock attractive new growth opportunities for both ThreeSixty and the brand’s impressive array of licensees.”

ThreeSixty Group is a leading cross-category designer, manufacturer and distributor of consumer products to major retailers in the U.S. representing over 70,000 retail stores. From its headquarters in Southern California, the Company combines cutting-edge internal design and development expertise with its global sourcing capabilities to bring its retail partners powerful, curated merchandise programs across diverse product categories. These categories include toys and other children’s products, holiday gifts, home décor, games, radio controlled vehicles and drones, and athletic accessories — all marketed under a portfolio of owned and licensed brands including FAO Schwarz, Blue Hat Toy Company, Sharper Image, Black Series, Discovery Kids, Smithsonian, and Animal Planet.

In connection with the acquisition, ThreeSixty also announced the establishment of a brands division to support the development and expansion of the Sharper Image and recently acquired FAO Schwarz brands. The brands division will manage the overall brand marketing and business development strategies for Sharper Image, FAO Schwarz and future acquired brands — including marketing, new product development, and licensee support. “The goal behind the division is to enhance these brands, to support third-party licensees, and to attract additional consumers and sales opportunities through investments in marketing, advertising, and product development,” said Mike Roberts, co-founder of ThreeSixty. “By leveraging ThreeSixty’s internal product development capabilities and existing retail relationships, the new brands team will coordinate growth initiatives among ThreeSixty and third-party licensees to maximize the potential of each brand in the market.”

“This announcement builds on our recent acquisition of FAO Schwarz and advances our strategy to expand our platform both organically and through acquisition as we strive to deliver, directly and with our licensee partners, a more differentiated and expansive product offerings to our retail partners,” said Johann Clapp, co-founder of ThreeSixty.

About ThreeSixty Group
ThreeSixty Group, originally known as MerchSource, was founded in Southern California in 1999. Today, ThreeSixty designs, sources and distributes consumer products across diverse categories under a portfolio of owned and licensed brands. The Company produces curated merchandise programs that it distributes to major retailers across almost every retail channel in the U.S., representing over 70,000 retail stores. In 2015, ThreeSixty received a majority investment from AEA Investors LP, one of the oldest private equity firms in the U.S. In October 2016, ThreeSixty acquired FAO Schwarz, an iconic brand that, since its founding in 1862, has been synonymous with quality and innovation, creating cherished memories for generations of children.

About AEA Investors LP
AEA Investors LP was founded in 1968 by the Rockefeller, Mellon, and Harriman family interests and S.G. Warburg & Co. as a private investment vehicle for a select group of industrial family offices with substantial assets. AEA’s active individual investors (the “Participants”) include an extraordinary network of more than 75 of the world’s leading industrial families, business executives and former government leaders. Today, AEA’s approximately 70 investment professionals operate globally with offices in New York, Connecticut, London, Munich and Shanghai. The firm manages funds that have approximately $10.0 billion of invested and committed capital including the leveraged buyouts of middle market companies and small business companies and mezzanine and senior debt investments. AEA Private Equity invests across four sectors: value added industrial products, specialty chemicals, consumer / retail and services.