Reebok will soon be sold off to the highest bidder as Adidas looks to divest itself of the U.S. brand. And now, according to Reuters sources, the German athleticwear giant has come up with a shortlist of potential buyers.
The list of companies that have been asked to submit final bids in August includes footwear group Wolverine Worldwide Inc. through a partnership with Authentic Brands Group (ABG), the powerhouse licensing company that in recent years has scooped up Forever 21, Barneys New York, Nine West and many other major names. Other firms reportedly vying for Reebok include Advent International, CVC Capital Partners, Sycamore Partners and Cerberus Capital Management, per Reuters.
The latter four bidders are private equity firms that have lately made headlines for their retail acquisitions — and, in some cases, subsequent bankruptcies. Sycamore sold a bankrupt Nine West to ABG in 2019, though it has kept control of Belk through the retailer’s Chapter 11 restructuring this year. In 2020, it called off a deal to buy Victoria’s Secret from L Brands. CVC, meanwhile, was reportedly in talks to buy Birkenstock before rival firm L Catterton snatched up a majority stake with backing from LVMH’s Bernard Arnault.
Whatever the eventual terms of the Reebok deal, Adidas will likely be selling for a fraction of the original purchase price. In 2006, the company acquired Reebok for $3.8 billion, but Reuters estimates the current price tag at around $1.2 billion, as the brand has struggled to live up to expectations in recent years, even amid a booming sneaker and athleisure market.
Adidas confirmed its plans to sell the brand in February of this year, following months of rumors.
“The long-term growth opportunities in our industry are highly attractive, particularly for iconic sports brands,” Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted then said in a statement. “After careful consideration, we have come to the conclusion that Reebok and Adidas will be able to significantly better realize their growth potential independently of each other. We will work diligently in the coming months to ensure a successful future for the Reebok brand and the team behind it.”
At the time, other potential buyers included VF Corp., China-based Anta International Group Holdings Ltd., and rap mogul Percy “Master P” Miller in partnership with retired NBA star Baron Davis.