By  on April 19, 2007

PARIS — Adidas raced into the spotlight Wednesday amid speculation it is the next activewear takeover target following PPR's bid to buy rival Puma.

Top on the activewear behemoth's suitor list, according to sources, is Apax Partners Worldwide — a private equity company and owner of Tommy Hilfiger.

A spokesman for Apax declined comment, as did a spokeswoman for Adidas.

Some reports circulating in the industry said Apax Partners plans to bid 50 euros, or $67.90 at current exchange, per share to buy a 25 percent stake in Adidas. Others speculate it could be another private equity firm — or another type of business entity altogether — buying shares of Adidas in the run-up to an offer.

Rumors began to swirl on Tuesday, causing Adidas' stock price to increase 2.7 percent. On Wednesday, however, Adidas' share price closed down 1.33 percent to 44.50 euros, or $60.43.

News of a possible bid for Adidas came fast on the heels of PPR's proposed takeover of Puma last week in a deal valuing the sportswear maker at 5.3 billion euros, or $7.2 billion.

Adidas last month reported earnings that missed analysts' estimates due to difficulties in integrating Reebok, which the company bought in 2005. As reported, British sporting goods entrepreneur Michael Ashley purchased a 3.14 percent stake in Adidas in March.

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