Behind the BlueSky Brands-Winterthur-NWF Catalog Licensing Deals
These are complex deals and for the launch of my new section on CatalogSuccess.com, I will explain some of the metrics and reasons for this unique transaction structure.
First, however, here’s the deal: BlueSky Brands, which owns the for-profit Paragon and Bits and Pieces catalogs, signed exclusive licensing agreements to manage and operate the direct-to-consumer catalog and Internet merchandising businesses of Winterthur Museum & Country Estate and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), both of which are nonprofit organizations.
Winterthur and NWF have operated successful direct response merchandising business for years. In this deal, BlueSky formed two operating brands: Winterthur Direct (WD) and National Wildlife Direct (NWD). The nonprofits turned to BlueSky to gain access to its large scale multichannel marketing operations, expertise and resources. The nonprofits will benefit from BlueSky’s economies of scale in marketing, creative, fulfillment, merchandising and Web site design and search marketing capabilities. This will help them secure revenue from each sale that directly supports their respective organizations’ programs and educational missions.
As the intermediary and financial advisor to BlueSky for both these transactions, my firm, West Cos., reviewed all performance data and conducted various analyses.
In describing the deal, BlueSky CEO Richard Hebert said in a statement: “These transactions allow the competitive advantages of a large for-profit direct merchandising organization to be leveraged within the select environment of the nonprofit community. BlueSky’s agreements with Winterthur and NWF (will) strengthen their brand awareness and core mission support, while also securing their catalog and Internet merchandising operations.”
Part of why we’re launching this Web column is to explain to catalogers why catalog acquisitions are made and how they may change or improve your competitors. What’s more, what might you want to do in reaction to the change in the landscape. Few people have access to the information gathered during the typical three-month due diligence period prior to closings, the details of which would help you understand why catalogs change hands.