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Thursday, Jun 30, 2022

GoDigital Takes Big Stake in Retail World

The Santa Monica-based intellectual property rights management company GoDigital Media Group has made a significant move into physical property, following its acquisition of two major brands with locations scattered across the Eastern Seaboard.

The company has acquired Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), a leading outdoor apparel brand and retailer, and Bob’s Stores, a retailer of apparel, footwear and workwear, from parent company Frasers Group, according to a May 26 statement. While the official terms of the acquisition were undisclosed, a spokesperson for GoDigital estimated that the deal closed for approximately $70 million.

The deal adds 900 employees, 42 stores, a warehouse and a fulfillment center, according to the company. This brings the total employees working under GoDigital to 1,400, up from 150 four years ago.
Jason Peterson, GoDigital’s chief executive officer, acknowledged that the brick-and-mortar purchase diverted from the company’s IP roots, telling the Business Journal that the acquisition was “a major step in our strategy to generate synergy between content, community and commerce.”

“That’s a powerful combination,” said Peterson. “We started in music, and have since grown to include video networks, and we’ve been selling millions and millions in advertising. We thought to ourselves, ‘Why aren’t we selling our own products?’”

The commerce industry accounts for $4 trillion in spending annually, Peterson noted, with e-commerce transactions accounting for roughly $900 billion of those purchases. Bob’s and EMS have a significant physical presence, and given GoDigital’s IP background, Peterson said that created incredible opportunities for synergy.

In a statement, EMS and Bob’s President and chief executive Dave Barton said he was “excited that we found the right investors who see the vast potential” in the companies, with “the vision and expertise to unlock it.”
“I am confident that our hard work to create a solid foundation will quickly allow us to execute their strategy,” Barton said. “I want to thank our partners for their continued support, especially during these very challenging times triggered by the pandemic.”

“COVID really hypercharged [the shift to e-commerce],” Peterson said, noting the $900 billion estimate was an increase of $630 billion over the previous year. “We had an opportunity with EMS and Bob’s, we felt that was really a solid idea for a number of reasons.”

Peterson said the outdoor adventure and workwear markets that EMS and Bob’s serve aligned well with GoDigital’s business model, adding that the transaction “presents a great opportunity to apply our prowess in product development, supply chain, and e-commerce across all of our brands.”

For 67 years, Bob’s Stores has served as a leading retailer for major brands including Timberland, Carhartt, Champion, Under Armour, adidas, Skechers, Levi’s, and others. EMS, in business for 50 years, is a retailer of leading sporting brands like The North Face, Oboz, Thule and Columbia.

“We saw a really strong cultural fit,” said Peterson. “Some of the people we’ve met have been with these brands for over 20 years, and I think that says something about the quality of the culture of these brands.”
Dentons UK & Middle East LLP represented Frasers, and Stubbs Alderton & Markiles LLP represented GoDigital. The transaction’s progress was coordinated by Zeevo Group LLC.

Paola Mendez
Paola Mendez
Paola Mendez graduated from Los Angeles Valley College, then transferred to University of California, and now serves as a Receptionist and Office Assistant to the Los Angeles Business Journal. Paola wears many hats in different departments and is trilingual in English, Spanish and French.

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