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.

Private equity firms stalk Nike’s Cole Haan brand

US sports shoe and clothing group Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) has received bids for its leather handbag and shoe maker Cole Haan from several parties including private equity firms TPG Capital Management and Apax Partners Holdings Ltd, three insiders told Reuters.

Nike, which announced plans at the end of May to dispose of Cole Haan, could get some USD500m (EUR407m) for the business, two of the sources said, adding that the auction process had reached the second stage.

Apart from Cole Haan, Nike said then it would also sell its football specialist brand Umbro, as part of plans to increase focus on boosting growth at its NIKE, Jordan, Converse and Hurley brands, for which it sees strong potential globally.

President and CEO Mark Parker commented at the time that by concentrating its resources on the highest-potential brands, the group would be able to continue to ensure “sustainable, profitable growth” for shareholders.

The company, which bought Cole Haan in 1988 and took over Umbro in 2008, expects to wrap up their sale by the end of its fiscal year 2013, on 31 May 2013, it has said.

TPG and Apax did not wish to make any comment to Reuters regarding their potential involvement in the bidding for Cole Haan.

The Chicago-based target firm designs, markets and distributes luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and coats.