LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Coming off an extremely successful 2022 San Diego Comic-Con, Entertainment Earth today announced a strategic investment in the company by IVEST Consumer Partners (IVEST) and Equity Group Investments (EGI), Sam Zell’s private investment firm. IVEST and EGI are partnering with the Entertainment Earth founders and senior management team, who will continue leading the business and retain a significant ownership stake in the company. The partnership provides additional capital for growth and strategic support for the organization as it continues growing exponentially. IVEST co-founder and managing partner George Jones, who is also the former president of Warner Bros. Consumer Products, will serve as chairman of the board. Other board members include Entertainment Earth Chief Executive Officer Aaron Labowitz, President Jason Labowitz and Chief Technology Officer Aaron Lipman; IVEST Partner Chris Munyan; and EGI Managing Directors Rahul Sen and Mike Leahy.
Founded in 1996 by brothers Aaron and Jason Labowitz, Entertainment Earth is a leading online retailer and wholesaler of licensed collectibles, including action figures, clothing, statues, prop replicas, games, vinyl figures and toys. The investment from IVEST and EGI will build on the tremendous foundation built by the Entertainment Earth team over nearly three decades and further accelerate the company’s growth.
“As we studied the collectible landscape, Entertainment Earth impressed us with the company’s unique customer- and partner-first approach and its data-driven innovation to address the market,” said George Jones, co-founder and managing partner of IVEST. “Aaron and Jason bring passion, creativity and expertise — a winning combination to expand the business and accelerate growth opportunities.”
“While we have achieved great heights already, seeing those dreams become a reality requires partners who are aligned with our vision, bring complementary skill sets and take a long-term strategic view,” said Aaron Labowitz, CEO of Entertainment Earth. “This partnership allows us to continue moving the company forward with additional capital, fresh ideas and significant contacts in the industry.”
Entertainment Earth brings deep expertise and long-established partnerships within its vast network of direct customers, online and brick-and-mortar retailers, content creators, and toy manufacturers, which has proven a winning strategy.
“We are impressed with the Entertainment Earth leadership team and their passion for innovation, growth and operational excellence — essential elements of a business that EGI looks for in all our investments,” said Mark Sotir, president of EGI. “This is an exciting partnership for EGI, and we look forward to working with Entertainment Earth and IVEST to create new opportunities for its employees, customers and partners.”
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
About Entertainment Earth
Based in Simi Valley, California, Entertainment Earth is a pioneer in the collectibles and toy industry. The company offers unparalleled expertise and an ever-expanding selection of tens of thousands of licensed products, ranging from popular toy and gift items to high-end limited edition pieces and hard-to-find collectibles. Through its wholesale division, EE Distribution, the company enables smaller retailers and distributors worldwide to purchase in bulk and expand their businesses. Entertainment Earth also designs and develops its own branded toys and collectibles from well-known licenses. It has exhibited at San Diego Comic-Con, the world’s most prestigious gathering of pop-culture enthusiasts, for more than 20 years. For more information, visit www.entertainmentearth.com.
About IVEST Consumer Partners
IVEST Consumer Partners was founded in 2013 as an operationally focused private equity firm, with investments concentrated in the consumer sector. IVEST is a team of world-class operators with an outstanding track record of growing consumer businesses. Their knowledge and experience span a broad range of consumer categories, which they leverage to add strategic value to their portfolio companies by supporting management in achieving objectives. For more information, visit www.ivestconsumer.com.
About Equity Group Investments
Equity Group Investments (EGI), founded by Sam Zell more than 50 years ago, has a long track record of building public and private businesses, including the origination and growth of multi-billion-dollar companies. EGI’s flexible capital and open investment mandate enable the firm to pursue opportunistic transactions across industries and geographies, throughout the capital structure, at any point in the economic cycle. EGI’s current portfolio includes investments in transportation and logistics, energy, retail, waste and infrastructure, manufacturing, health care, agribusiness, and real estate. For more information, visit www.egizell.com.