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New Era acquires major stake in Brazilian licensing company

New Era Cap Co. said it has acquired a majority stake in MARC4, a privately held brand management company in Brazil.

Buffalo-based New Era did not disclose details of the deal. MARC4 designs, distributes and markets apparel, shoes, headwear and other accessories under licensed brands throughout Brazil. It has been New Era's official distributor in Brazil since 2006.

"Brazil is an emerging market, and MARC4 has the expertise and connections in the country to help us generate strong demand for New Era products," said Christopher H. Koch, New Era's chief executive officer, in a statement.

New Era did not disclose the exact percentage of shares it acquired in MARC4, but confirmed it purchased a "significant majority" of MARC4's shares.

New Era said MARC4's main assets are its licensed relationships -- including 20 of the main Brazilian soccer teams -- a product development group, production capabilities, distribution channels and marketing capabilities.

New Era says its deal will give MARC4 access to more resources allowing the company to obtain additional licensed brands, expand its distribution and grow its retail division.

"New Era will bring to the table both its financial strength and its best practices in logistics, finance, (information technology) and marketing," said Artur Regen, a partner at MARC4, in a statement. "This will fuel MARC4's growth and allow our company to maintain control and discipline in a high growth environment."

New Era's corporate headquarters are on Delaware Avenue, and it operates a production plant in Derby.

In 2008, New Era signed a seven-year production and distribution agreement with Mainland Headwear Holdings in Hong Kong. The deal gave New Era the option of buying up to 20 percent of Mainland.

e-mail: mglynn@buffnews.com

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