Nike agrees to sell Manchester-based sportswear group Umbro

US sports shoe and clothing group Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) said on Wednesday it had struck a definitive deal to sell Manchester-based football equipment supplier Umbro Ltd for USD225m (EUR173.9m).

The buyer is New York-based brand management company Iconix Brand Group Inc (NASDAQ:ICON), which licenses brands to retailers and manufacturers primarily in the apparel, footwear and apparel accessory industries.

The divestment serves the company’s strategy, revealed at the end of May, to concentrate on its Nike, Jordan, Converse and Hurley brands, which are seen to have high growth potential. The plan also includes the sale of leather handbag and shoe maker Cole Haan.

Commenting on the deal, Nike’s president and CEO, Mark Parker, said that the divestment of any of the company’s businesses was a difficult decision to make. According to him, the Nike’s football category would be able to meet the needs of footballers following the sale.

Neil Cole, CEO Iconix Brand Group, described the acquisition as an “exciting” one, which will add more than 30 licensees in over 100 countries with a global loyal consumer fan base. He pledged that his company would work to further develop the brand.

The transaction is seen to be finalised by the end of 2012.