Rumors resurface that Adidas is looking to sell Reebok

Oct 25, 2020

FOURTEEN years after adidas snapped up Reebok for $3.8 billion, the Three Stripes is reportedly looking to sell off the shoe brand.

Sources told German publication Manager Magazin and financial site Bloomberg that the German sportswear giant hopes to offload Reebok by 2021.

Manager Magazin’s report claims that interested buyers include China’s Anta Sports, as well as VF Corp., which manages Vans, Timberland, and North Face.

Representatives of adidas have told multiple publications that they do not comment on market rumors.

This isn’t the first time that sale rumors have dogged the partnership between Reebok (worn by Quinn Cook during the Laker’s storied championship run this year amidst a sea of Nikes) and the Germany-based brand.

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As early as 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that an Asian investment firm had scraped together $2.2 billion to purchase Reebok.

In 2015, analyst firm Sterne Agee even said: “Recently, there has been some conjecture that Adidas was looking to sell the Reebok brand. We do believe that conjecture."

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Reebok and adidas operate as independent entities within the greater Adidas AG corporate structure.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Reebok hard. In its second quarter earnings report, Reebok’s 2020 revenues fell by 42 percent (though it should be noted that adidas’ earnings also fell by 33 percent).

2020 was also the year that Reebok dropped its partnership with CrossFit, after former CEO Greg Glassman’s infamous "FLOYD-19" tweet. The Nano — its signature shoe with the fitness brand — was one of the key pillars and “iconic models” of Reebok’s overall strategy, according to adidas’ 2019 financial report.

In 2019, Reebok’s sales grew by 18 percent in North America, but dropped by 12 percent in the fast-growing markets of Asia-Pacific. In adidas’ home turf of Europe, its net sales went down by 2 percent.

Still, even before the pandemic, Reebok’s struggles have been well documented — to the point that adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted had to tell shareholders and investors in 2017: “We are not going to sell Reebok.”

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