Adidas confirms potential sale of Reebok

Sportswear giant Adidas has confirmed it could sell its Reebok brand.

The German company said it had “begun to assess strategic alternatives” for Reebok that could include a sale as part of a new five-year strategy to be set out in March.

Adidas bought US-focused Reebok in 2006 for $3.8bn (£2.8bn) in an attempt to build more of a presence in the home market of its rival Nike.

The acquisition did not work out as planned and Adidas chief executive Kasper Rorsted came under pressure to sell the brand.

Attempts to turn around its fortunes included signing up Game Of Thrones actor Nathalie Emmanuel, models Gal Gadot and Gigi Hadid, and the singers Cardi B and Ariana Grande as brand ambassadors.

The business, which lost €150m (£134m) in 2016, returned to profitability in 2018.

But it suffered a reverse when sales took a bigger hit earlier this year from the COVID-19 pandemic than those of the wider Adidas group.

A statement on Monday confirmed a report in October that Reebok was to be sold.

Shares rose about 2%.

It was also reported in October that Adidas’s boss was now prepared to accept less than the €2bn (£1.8bn) sale value that he would have attached to the brand before the pandemic.

Reebok – a company with an illustrious history – can trace its origins back to Foster’s Running Pumps a UK business founded in Bolton in 1895.

Its origins can still be seen on the union flag on its shoes.

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