Adidas has confirmed plans to offload British-founded sports brand Reebok to focus on its own products as part of a new five-year strategy.
Rumours have been circulating for some months that Adidas would sell Reebok, which is headquartered in the US, having bought it for $3.8bn 15 years ago. At the end of last year the German giant admitted it was considering its options when it came to Reebok, which has been hit harder by the pandemic than its parent brand.
Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted is expected to reveal the new strategy on 10 March but said he believed both Reebok and Adidas would be better served by going their separate ways.
“Reebok and Adidas will be able to significantly better realise 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,” Rorsted said.
Reebok was founded in in Bolton in 1958 (early designs carried the Union Flag on them) and the brand shot to prominence in the 1980s, having secured a US distributor, with its Freestyle aerobics shoe for women.
Its headquarters are now in Boston, Massachusetts with regional offices around the world. Adidas acquired the business in the hope of using the brand to take on rival Nike in its home market, but it proved not to be as successful an acquisition as had been hoped, and Adidas itself has proved to be a highly successful competitor for Nike thanks in part to collaborations with the likes of Pharrell Williams.
Reebok lost €150m (£134m) in 2016 but returned to profitability in 2018. Prior to the pandemic Adidas had sought to sell the brand and was hoping to achieve a €2bn price for it but it is now expected to fetch a price of around $1.2bn.