Reebok draws diverse interest, ABG confirms attraction

7 Jan 2021

From Percy Miller to Shaquille O’Neal, the Adidas Group’s move to evaluate a Reebok sale has drawn interest from a diverse cast of potential buyers.

The Adidas Group confirmed last month that it was considering options for Reebok, including a sale. The German group agreed in 2015 to buy Reebok for $3.8 billion. The brand returned to profit from an operating standpoint in 2018. But its sales have shrunk, and the Adidas group has written down its value to less than $1 billion. The prospects for Reebok should be confirmed at the group’s investor day on March 10.

Authentic Brands Group (ABG), the U.S. group headed by Jamie Salter, confirmed its interest yesterday. “We are very interested in Reebok, which has been on our radar for many years,” said Salter. “Reebok is a treasured brand that stands for fitness, innovation and nostalgia – key elements that are highly relevant among today’s consumers and would complement the ABG portfolio very well.”

ABG sells a raft of sports brands, from Volcom to Spyder and Prince, as well as fashion brands. Last year ABG expanded mostly in the fashion business, with the acquisition of Brooks Brothers, Lucky Brand and Forever 21. BlackRock made a strategic investment worth about $875 million in ABG in 2019.

Salter said that ABG is connected to Reebok through one of its strategic partners, Shaquille O’Neal. The former basketball player has worked with Reebok for many years, and he has stated his own interest in owning the brand. Greg Norman, another ABG partner, has worked with Reebok through his Shark label. Salter added that ABG has over 1,000 partners and a distribution network of 6,000 stores and shop-in-shops, which would “surely drive growth” for Reebok.

A sports and business duo consisting of Percy Miller and Baron Davis apparently wants to take the brand back to the nineties, when it was most involved with basketball and hip-hop culture. Davis is a former basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA), while Percy “Master P” Miller is a hip-hop business mogul who is already involved in sneakers through his MoneYatti brand.

Read the full story in Sporting Goods Report #49.

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