LRG Acquired by Mad Engine

Lifted Research Group, a popular Irvine, Calif.–headquartered urban streetwear brand, was acquired by licensed apparel company Mad Engine LLC.

Terms of the deal was not disclosed. But the acquisition marks Mad Engine’s entry into branded apparel, said Danish Gajiani, chief executive officer of the San Diego–headquartered apparel company.

“The experience of the LRG team and sound infrastructure will serve as a solid foundation and platform to launch the branded division and bring on many additional brands in the future,” Gajiani said in a statement.

Rob Wright, LRG’s cofounder, said that the deal will give increased support to the brand, which has been sold at Macy’s and Fred Segal in the past. “I am optimistic about this new chapter, which creates the ability to grow the LRG brand and creates new opportunities and experiences for those involved,” Wright said in a statement. Intrepid Investment Bankers advised LRG on the deal.

Mad Engine is celebrating its 30th year in business. The global licensed apparel wholesaler has worked with licenses such as Marvel, Star Wars, Disney and Nickelodeon. In 2014, Mad Engine made headlines when it acquired Canadian company Xtreme Worldwide Inc. Xtreme supplied Canadian retailers with licensed product. According to Mad Engine’s website, the venture was renamed Mad Engine International. It markets licensed product to retailers outside the United States.

Mad Engine runs a handful of separate divisions in locations around California. Its product for men and boys is headquartered in San Diego. The girls’ division and the juniors and misses division is located in Glendale, Calif. The company also runs an adult loungewear division in Sausalito, outside of San Francisco.

LRG started business in 1999 in Santa Ana, Calif. Wright and cofounder Jonas Bevacqua pitched the menswear brand as a line that would mix inspirations from hip-hop and action sports such as skateboarding as well as fine art.

It captured the imagination of the hip-hop and streetwear crowd. Kanye West appeared in LRG advertisements and it was a top-selling brand at streetwear-focused e-tailer Karmaloop in 2006. Tragedy struck the brand when Bevacqua died in 2011. The Orange County Coroner Division announced that he had died of natural causes, driven by pneumonia and inflammation of the heart, according to media reports. LRG has been sold recently at Zumiez, Tilly’s and Macy’s.