New division will acquire high-profile brand names

Haim Saban is going on a high-end shopping spree.

Saban Capital Group will commit more than $500 million to launch a division dubbed Saban Brands, which plans to acquire entertainment, lifestyle, fashion, celebrity and consumer brands. Elie Dekel, the former head of Fox’s licensing and merchandising division and a longtime Saban lieutenant, will run the unit as prexy.

The goal is to manage high-profile properties and brand names in as many media platforms, retail outlets and product formats as possible. Saban Brands has its eye on established brands that may be in need of rehabilitation or haven’t yet been widely exploited.

“We’re forming this business to really act as a management group over a portfolio of brands,” Dekel said. “We’re looking to find opportunities where we can add our capabilities and expertise to help those businesses become much more than they have been.”

Saban Brands is clearly ready to pounce on a few acquisitions in the near future. They’ve been plotting the business plan and scouting targets for months, said Adam Chesnoff, Saban Capital Group prexy and chief operating officer.

“Historically the approach to brand management has been ‘Let’s develop content and get it on the air and the merchandise comes after,’ ” Chesnoff said. “Here were looking to turn that around and manage brands across different disciplines from the start.”

Dekel is in the process of recruiting a few more execs. He rejoined Saban’s fold as a managing director of Saban Capital last year after four years as exec VP of licensing and merchandising at Fox, where he steered worldwide product marketing for the studio’s movies and TV shows, including such juggernauts as “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” “Avatar” and “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.”

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