By  on June 9, 2008

MILAN – Italian sportswear brand Sergio Tacchini has been purchased by Hong Kong executive Billy Ngok for 27 million euros or $42.55 million at current exchange.

The acquisition marks the first Chinese acquisition of a major European sportswear brand.

Sergio Tacchini, founded by the Italian tennis star of the same name in 1966 and arguably best-known for its “Dallas” tracksuit in the mid-’80s, filed for bankruptcy in 2007. Athletes who have worn the brand include tennis players John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova, skier Pirmin Zurbriggen, Formula One driver Ayrton Senna and golfer Ian Woosnam.

Ngok, who is chairman of distribution and supply-chain services company Hembly - which was also one of Sergio Tacchini’s suppliers - plans to inject 33 million euros or $52 million into the business to fuel growth, mainly in China, a spokeswoman for Sergio Tacchini said Friday.

Sergio Tacchini will enter the Chinese market in 2009 and open 200 stores there in the next three years. By 2012, Ngok expects China to account for up to 30 percent of the brand’s global sales, the spokeswoman said.

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