Blog: Leonie BarrieAdidas bid rumours

Leonie Barrie | 18 April 2007

Hot on the heels of last week’s bid for Puma by PPR, Adidas is in the news amid renewed talk of private equity interest in the sportswear group. The rumours have been around for a while now, but analysts recently said they would be hard pushed to think of a private equity group with both the resources and an interest in the group.

Today, though, the name of that private equity firm emerged as Apax Partners, which was behind last year’s US$1.6bn acquisition of Tommy Hilfiger Corporation. The company is thought to be preparing a tender offer for 25% in Adidas as a precursor to an all-out bid – and tellingly, perhaps, didn’t deny the market speculation when contacted by just-style today.

However, Apax may not be alone in casting its eye over Adidas, since Mike Ashley, the founder of Sports Direct, bought a 3.14% stake in the business at the end of March and is now thought to be putting together his own consortium to make a bid for the European sports brand. But Adidas will not come cheap, and Mr Ashley will have to move quickly if he is to beat Apax.

Any take-over attempt is likely to value Adidas at more than EUR9bn, and could be welcomed by the firm, which is struggling to turn around its $3.8bn acquisition of Reebok last year. Other factors that make Adidas an attractive target are its international management team and relatively small German workforce, which are likely to shield it from a political backlash.

UK: Apax lines up 25% stake in Adidas


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