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Adidas sells Reebok to Authentic Brands Group for $2.1bn

Lauretta Roberts
13 August 2021

Adidas has confirmed the sale of Reebok to Authentic Brands Group for $2.1bn (£1.8bn) having formally put the British founded sports brand up for sale earlier this year.

The majority cash deal is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2022 and means Reebok will join Authentic Brands' growing stable of apparel and sports brand including Forever 21, Brooks Brothers, Barneys New York, Tretorn, Van Heusen and Frye.

Adidas had acquired the US-headquarted Reebok brand in 2006 for $3.6bn and planned to use it as a way of taking on rival Nike in its own market, however the Adidas brand itself proved more than capable of doing that.

It has been rumoured for some time that Adidas was looking to divest and Authentic Brands Group CEO Jamie Salter said the acquisitive group (it was one of the names in the frame to pick up Topshop from the collapsed Arcadia Group) had been eyeing Reebok for some time.

We’ve had our sights set on Reebok for many years, and we’re excited to finally bring this iconic brand into the fold. Reebok not only holds a special place in the minds and hearts of consumers around the world, but the brand also has expansive global distribution. adidas has been an incredible steward of the Reebok brand, and we look forward to working with the Reebok team to continue their great work and further its position as one of the world’s leading consumer brands," Salter 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, the first aerobics shoe for women. It was also the first brand to create a spiked running shoe.

Today the brand operates in 80 countries, with approximately 70% of its business hailing from outside of the US and Canada. In common with Nike and Adidas it has deep ties to professional sports and pop culture with collaborators including Cardi B (pictured above) and basketball star, and Authentic Brands Group shareholder, Shaquille O’Neal.

O'Neal was said to be instrumental in securing the deal and said: “As a longtime partner of Reebok and an owner of ABG, it’s a dream come true to welcome this legendary brand to the family.”

Authentic Brands said it would continue to focus Reebok on its "core playbook, connecting strong brands with best-in-class licensees and a network of partners that seek to optimise value in the marketplace." Its headquarters will remain in Boston and Reebok’s President Matt O’Toole and the entire Reebok team to transition the brand to the Authentic Brands business.

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