Children's shoe company The Stride Rite Corporation has agreed a definitive deal to acquire running-shoes company Saucony Inc for approximately $170 million.

Saucony, which made approximately $167m worth of sales last year, will significantly extend the range of Stride Rite's nationally recognized footwear brands.

 David Chamberlain, Stride Rite's chairman and chief executive officer, said:
"Saucony is an ideal brand for take-down sales to the children's market, where performance footwear constitutes approximately 50 per cent of total sales for children ages nine and under.

"Acquiring Saucony will provide an entree for Stride Rite in the growing athletic specialty and sporting goods channels, adding greater channel balance to Stride Rite's sales. The acquisition will double our international sales and provide critical mass for growth of all of our brands in Europe and worldwide."

John Fisher, Saucony's president and chief executive officer, said: " Stride Rite's and Saucony's complementary strengths will provide a stronger platform for growth and profitability."

The transaction is expected to close this summer. Stride Rite has requested that John Fisher serve as a consultant to the company for approximately one year following completion of the transaction.

The Stride Rite Corporation markets shoes under brand names such Stride Rite, Keds, PRO-Keds, Sperry Top-Sider, Tommy Hilfiger and Grasshoppers.

Saucony designs, develops and markets performance-oriented athletic footwear, athletic apparel and casual leather footwear under the names Saucony Originals, Hind, and Spot-bilt.