U.K. ACTIVEWEAR RETAILER SPORTS Direct International plc could block Nike Inc.'s $582 million all-cash bid for Umbro plc.
Mike Ashley, owner of the discount sports retailer, bought 21.7 million shares of Umbro Tuesday at Nike's $4 asking price. He now owns 29.9 percent of the stock, enough to stymie a takeover because the deal requires 75 percent shareholder approval.
At the time of last week's bid, Sports Direct and JJB Sports plc, the two largest sporting goods retailers in the U.K., already owned 15 and 10 percent of Umbro, respectively. Some analysts doubted whether the sports retailers would make an aggressive move against U.S. active giant Nike. "While there is the potential for a counterbid by Sports Direct, our European analysts view this as unlikely as it could damage the retailers' business with Nike, a major vendor for Sports Direct," a Citigroup report said last week.
Sports Direct could not be reached for comment.
Nike said in a statement, "We've made a compelling offer that has the unanimous support of Umbro's board and the support of the Football Association."
An exclusive brand for Dick's Sporting Goods in the U.S. and Sports Direct in the U.K., Umbro sells apparel, footwear and equipment in more than 90 countries, and has soccer marketing relationships, including with the U.K. national team. Umbro did about 149.5 million pounds, or $276 million at current exchange, in sales last year, and with licensed sales added, the number goes up to 409.4 million pounds, or $755 million.
On the London Stock Exchange, Umbro's stock closed Tuesday at 193.50 pence, just above Nike's asking price of 193.06 pence, or about $4 — up from a previous close of 190 pence.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews