(The best part about being filthy rich? You don’t have to share ring girls anymore. / Props: amam-magazine.com / R.I.P.: Charles Lewis)
After a 13-year run that saw TapouT go from a two-man operation — with founders Charles "Mask" Lewis and Dan "Punkass" Caldwell selling shirts out of the trunk of a car — to becoming the most powerful apparel and lifestyle brand in mixed martial arts, and then pressing on after Lewis’s tragic death, TapouT has finally reached the mythical "cash-out" stage of its existence. As first announced via press release yesterday, Authentic Brands Group has purchased TapouT, as well as its rival label Silver Star Casting Company, along with their subsidiary brands.
With offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto, ABG was founded earlier this year by chairman/CEO Jamie Salter, who previously managed such big-name brands as Polaroid, the Sharper Image, and Linens ‘N Things while at Hilco Consumer Capital. Now, he’s betting big on MMA. In a Bloomberg.com article published today, Salter wouldn’t talk numbers, but he did talk about how excited he was about his new company’s first major acquisitions:
“These are some of the most exciting brands I’ve seen in years. 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.”
Dan Caldwell explained that TapouT had "many suitors," but decided to work with Salter and ABG because they knew the clothing industry and welcomed his continued involvement. In fact, Punkass will remain president of TapouT, while Tim “SkySkrape” Katz will stay on as marketing/creative director, and Silver Star founder Luke Burrett will join them as a third partner. As Burrett told Bloomberg, “We’ve been fierce competitors with TapouT, and now that we’re under the same roof we’ll be unstoppable."
Salter predicts he’ll double revenues of the two brands in the next two years. And you thought TapouT couldn’t get anymore "inyaface"…