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Adidas share price rises amid reports it is ‘lining up’ Reebok sale

Reebok store logo seen in New York City. (Photo Illustration by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

German sportswear company Adidas is considering selling its Reebok brand, it has been reported.

Adidas is set to decide in the coming months whether to go ahead with a sales process, the Bloomberg news agency reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

An internal review into the sale of Reebok, which Adidas bought in 2006 for $3.8bn (€3.2bn), is said to be in the early stages. Adidas and Reebok have not commented on the report.

VF Corp, which owns clothing brands Timberland and North Face, is among the parties interested in buying Reebok, according to German business news outlet Manager Magazin. China-based Anta International Group Holdings is also said to be interested, and it is reported that Reebok could be sold by as early as March 2021.

Adidas chief executive Kasper Rørsted would reportedly be willing to sell Reebok for less than €2bn. Following the reports, shares in Adidas rose by as much as 3.5 per cent.

Reebok was bought by Adidas when the latter was under the stewardship of chief executive Herbert Hainer. Hainer was succeeded in the role by Rørsted in 2016. Rørsted has previously denied rumours that he was looking to sell the US-focused Reebok, which is based in Boston, Massachusetts.

Reebok’s revenue fell by 42 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 amid the ongoing difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Adidas’ sales fell by 33 per cent during the same period.

In July, Reebok was replaced as the exclusive global outfitting and apparel partner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts organisation by combat sports brand Venum in a deal that starts in April 2021. Reebok will continue to serve as the official footwear provider of UFC through the end of 2021.

The current Reebok deal is understood to be worth a total of $70m over six years, from mid-2015 to March 2021, with annual fixed payments that increase each year and a revenue share with the UFC on apparel sold.