Report: Concept One to Buy Drew Pearson

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NEW YORK – Concept One Accessories, the fast-growing headwear and accessories firm based here, has reached an agreement to acquire Drew Pearson Marketing (DPM), the maker of NHL and NBA hats with offices in Texas and Minnesota, MRketplace.com has learned.

Sam Hafif, president of Concept One, declined to comment on reports, but sources said that Concept One will acquire DPM by the end of the year, forging a union of firms with similar but non-overlapping channels of distribution and licenses.

The deal would be the third acquisition this year for Concept One, which also has purchased Helen Welsh, the better women’s handbag and accessories supplier, and Block Headwear. It will also catapult Concept One, in only its seventh year, into the top ranks of U.S. headwear firms, behind only New Era and Bollman.

Concept One’s extensive brand portfolio includes hats and backpacks under a wide variety of brand names and entertainment properties, including bags for Major League Baseball, the NHL and the NBA, and headwear under brands including Southpole, Levi Strauss Red Tab, U.S. Polo Association, Original Penguin and Akademiks. It’s recently added a number of movies and the television show “24” to its sizeable stable. Distribution is strongest in department stores, specialty stores and mid-tier retailers.

DPM, on the other hand, has significant distribution in sporting goods and outdoor stores as well as in college book stores and sport venues such as baseball stadiums and auto racing arenas. Their licensing relationships include pacts with Nascar, The Walt Disney Co., Warner Brothers, Budweiser and General Mills.

The acquisition will create a firm with a sales force of over 70, more than 80 brands and volume in excess of $60 million, according to market estimates.

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