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Oaktree and Alceon acquire Decor and Willow brands

Investment companies Oaktree Capital Management and Alceon Group have made a move into homewares with their acquisition of Marlin Management Services (Marlin Brands), a wholesaler whose portfolio includes Decor and Willow, among other leading kitchen and home brands.

Oaktree and Alceon own a number of iconic Australian apparel brands, including Billabong and Quiksilver (Oaktree), and Noni B (Alceon).

Marlin Brands owns the more than 60-year-old Decor brand, which makes reusable plastic containers, the more than 100-year-old Willow brand, which makes jugs, coolers and rubbish bins, and the Albi brand, which supplies more than 3000 retailers with home and kitchen products, fashion accessories and jewellery.

Marlin also owns Independence Studios, a giftware and toy brand, and Pacific Optics, which distributes general merchandise such as sunglasses, hats and phone accessories to petrol and convenience stores.

The acquisition will see Oaktree and Alceon focus on growing Marlin Brands’ online and international sales.

“We are excited about the next phase of growth under Oaktree and Alceon’s stewardship,” Greg Kerr, chief executive of Marlin Brands, said.

The companies’ growth strategy entails growing Decor and Willow’s international operations, particularly its penetration into the US market, and further growing the company’s direct-to-consumer sales through online marketplaces. Marlin Brands already has more than 2600 SKUs listed on Amazon.

“Together our strategy is to accelerate Marlin Brands’ growth via supply chain transformation and cater to an omnichannel approach to ensure our consumers can be consistently delighted by Marlin’s products in Australia and increasingly internationally,” Kerr said.

In a statement released on Monday, the investment companies highlighted their expertise in optimising group logistics, warehousing and supply chain management, and branded wholesale and direct-to-consumer sales, as key factors that will enable them to grow the newly acquired business.

Marlin Brands currently serves more than 18,000 retailers throughout Australia and New Zealand, with more than $260 million of annual revenue.

According to the Australian Financial Review, Coast2Coast Capital, the South African investment company that owns Marlin Brands, put the wholesaler up for sale last September after abandoning plans for an initial public offering.

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