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NEW YORK — Adidas-Salomon AG moved a step closer Tuesday to completing its $3.8 billion purchase of Reebok International after the European Commission said it had cleared the acquisition.

Reebok is holding a special meeting today of its shareholders, who are expected to approve the transaction, and no other antitrust approvals are required. Adidas officials said in a statement that the deal may close as early as next Tuesday.

The acquisition, one of the largest ever in the athletic sector, merges the second and third largest players in the industry and creates a megafirm with combined sales of $11 billion. Adidas said it will pay $59 in cash for each share to buy the outstanding shares and will finance the acquisition with a mix of equity and debt. The company has said the deal is anticipated to boost profits by more than 10 percent in the medium term, while sales are projected to grow at a mid- to high single-digit rate.

The acquisition gives Adidas significantly more market share in the U.S., where it has sought to raise its profile. It also gives Adidas a stronger position in the lifestyle arena, since Reebok has sought in recent years to work with celebrities and athletes such as 50 Cent and Usher on collaborative fashion lines.

This story first appeared in the January 25, 2006 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.