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The Outdoor Voices Turnaround Bros

outdoor voices
With Outdoor Voices, I suspect, the Consortium Boys are also hoping to achieve something similarly dignified while also doing their thing. Photo: Cait Oppermann/Courtesy of Outdoor Voices
Lauren Sherman
June 3, 2024

Outdoor Voices, the perennially troubled millennial activewear brand that has cycled through multiple leaders and layoffs following the ouster of founder Tyler Haney in 2020, now has a new owner: Consortium Brand Partners. The transaction was an asset sale, meaning that Consortium bought individual parts of the company rather than the whole shebang, wiping away the debts and other nuisances along the way. Longtime executive Katie Siano is staying on, and other previously laid-off Austin-based employees will return, but investor Ashley Merrill, the self-assigned savior who swooped in to rescue the business last year, is out. 

Consortium, founded in 2022 by Cory Baker, Michael DeVirgilio, and Jonathan Greller, is a licensing firm, but the Outdoor Voices deal isn’t a typical licensing play. Ordinarily, “brand management companies” like Authentic Brands Group or Marquee—where Baker, DeVirgilio, and Greller met—extract value from post-prime businesses, either by licensing their trademark to firms making inferior products, or worse, just selling the name for random, unrelated projects. (Authentic Brands infamously mashed together two of its properties, Forever21 and Barneys New York, in an ill-conceived collab, and licensed out Sports Illustrated to a bunch of jokers.) If you talk to anyone at any of these groups, they’ll argue that they are in the business of brand management—or, better, value preservation—but they’re really just squeezing these labels for all their remaining worth, unconcerned with what remains once they’ve had their way with them.