Authentic Brands Group is doubling down on its entertainment assets.
Today, the New York-based brand marketer will reveal that it has signed a deal with Universal Music Group to acquire and actively manage artist brands. The news comes one day after ABG purchased Iconic Images, a U.K.-based photo agency that owns millions of images of celebrities in fashion, music and pop culture.
The terms of both deals were not disclosed.
In addition to a record label, UMG is also the music industry’s leading merchandise company and has a film and television business that it uses to help its artists reach new levels of success in all stages of their careers. ABG owns the rights to celebrity brands including Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali and Elvis Presley, and has increasingly been focusing on entertainment and events.
By working together, UMG and ABG will work with artists, their representatives and legal heirs to leverage and market their names and likenesses on merchandise, memorabilia, licensing, brand experiences, media and entertainment.
Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman and chief executive officer of UMG, said: “UMG and ABG have strong track records as powerful stewards of artist and celebrity brands. Through this initiative, we will invest in name and likeness rights to create unique opportunities for artists with the goal of greatly expanding their cultural and commercial impact.”
Jamie Salter, founder, chairman and CEO of ABG, said the two companies “will work strategically to preserve the legacies of history’s greatest artists.”
On Monday, ABG revealed its acquisition of Iconic Images and said the company will be the first within a Fine Arts vertical ABG is creating in its Entertainment division.
Through this acquisition, ABG will own and manage the rights to the entire Iconic Images photography archive including fine art prints from acclaimed photographers Ed Caraeff, Eva Sereny, Ted Williams and Terry O’Neill, as well as photos of musical icons and Hollywood stars such as The Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Kate Moss and others. These images will be used on a variety of licensed merchandise as well as at events, exhibitions and endorsement deals.
“ABG is already home to the most iconic names in entertainment including Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali. Iconic Images’ unparalleled archive is a natural fit for ABG’s portfolio,” said Marc Rosen, president, entertainment for ABG. “We continue to explore new and innovative ways to preserve and monetize the most memorable moments and icons in modern pop culture. We are thrilled to establish Fine Arts as ABG’s newest vertical with the acquisition of Iconic Images and excited to continue investing in art and photography.”
Robin Morgan, founder of Iconic Images, added: “ABG’s expertise in investing in valuable IP, storytelling and marketing is what makes the acquisition of Iconic Images an organic fit. ABG has a proven ability in unique storytelling and marketing, and I am thrilled to join forces with this esteemed organization.”
Morgan, a onetime editor of the Sunday Times of London who created Iconic Images seven years ago, will remain with the company under ABG.