Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

Detroit-based Ford Motor Co.’s nascent iDentify licensing unit in June acquired The Beanstalk Group, New York City. Ten-year-old Beanstalk handles licensing programs for such huge brands as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Harley-Davidson.

The merged company will be based in Detroit but operate under The Beanstalk Group name. It will manage the programs of all Ford brands including Aston Martin, Jaguar, Ford, Volvo, Lincoln, and Mercury. Ford generates about $800 million per year from licensed merchandise.

Ford started in this direction in spring 2000, when it formed iDentify as a joint venture with promotional products distributor Ha-Lo Industries, Niles, IL. The business plan was to first organize Ford’s own merchandising efforts, then begin offering services to other companies. IDentify ceo Linden Nelson bought out Ha-Lo’s minority interest in May and began looking for another partner, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Nelson will head up the new company as ceo, with Ford group vp-global business Jim Donaldson serving as chairman. Beanstalk co-founders Seth Siegel and Michael Stone will be executive vps and retain minority interests.

Ford has about 650 licensees, so our first step is to review, to determine what categories are well-provided and learn from our top performers, says Siegel. I’m not saying we’ll need to do this, but we may look at what licensees might be better to shed.

This transaction is part of a broader effort at Ford to maximize the value of its considerable assets, as well as expand the reach beyond automotive to new companies and industries, Donaldson said in a statement.


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