Adidas AG has begun a review of whether to sell its Reebok brand, part of the development of the German sports company’s new five-year strategy.
Adidas will announce a decision on March 10, when it presents its new plan, the company said Monday.
The company acquired Reebok for $3.8 billion in 2006 and in recent years returned the division to profitability and growth. Bloomberg reported that Adidas was exploring a sale and might start a strategic review in October, citing a person familiar with the matter.
Private-equity firms Permira and Triton have looked at acquiring Reebok, though any plans are at an exploratory stage and may not ripen into an offer, the Financial Times reported last month. German publication Manager Magazin reported in October that interested parties include VF Corp., which owns the Timberland and North Face brands, as well as China’s Anta International Group Holdings.
Since taking over as chief executive officer of Adidas in 2016, Kasper Rorsted has made a priority of fixing Reebok’s long-sluggish performance. He closed underperforming Reebok stores and allowed some licensing deals to expire, cutting sales at the long unloved sporting label but cutting expenses even more.
After Reebok finally regained profitability by early 2019, Rorsted said he wanted to generate sales growth with new footwear lines like the CrossFit Nano and the FloatRide Run. He compared overseeing Adidas and Reebok to being like a parent who loves both his children equally.
While Rorsted had hoped for about 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) from selling Reebok before the pandemic, he would now be happy with less than that amount, Manager Magazin has said.
Adidas looks like a “clearly motivated seller” and may accept a comparatively low price for the Reebok brand, which would probably have a relatively neutral effect on earnings, John Kernan of Cowen said in an October note.
By Tim Loh.