German sportswear giant Adidas said Thursday it has agreed to sell its ailing Reebok unit to the US company Authentic Brands Group in a deal worth 2.1 billion euros (US$2.5 billion). Adidas bought Reebok in 2006 but announced that it would offload the brand in February this year after struggling to lift the brand’s fortunes. The intended sale was announced as part of the Bavarian group’s five-year turnaround plan to increase revenues and profitability. “Reebok has been a valued part of adidas, and we are grateful for the contributions the brand and the team behind it have made to our company,” Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted said in a press release. “With this change in ownership, we believe the Reebok brand will be well-positioned for long-term success,” Rorsted said.
Authentic Brands Group owns a number of well-known brands including Fashion retailers JCPenney, Forever21 and Brooks Brothers, as well as the publication Sports Illustrated. “It’s an honor to be entrusted with carrying Reebok’s legacy forward,” the company’s chief executive Jamie Salter said in a statement. “We look forward to working closely with the Reebok team to build on the brand’s success,” Salter said.
Adidas acquired Boston-based Reebok in 2006 for 3.1 billion euros ($3.8 billion) with the goal of taking on US rival Nike. But Reebok has struggled to shine under its German owner, despite high-profile collaborations with the likes of Victoria Beckham, Cardi B and Ariana Grande in recent years. “After careful consideration, we have come to the conclusion that Reebok and Adidas will be able to significantly better realise their growth potential independently of each other,” Rorsted said in February when the planned sale was announced. The sale of Reebok will have “no impact” on the financial outlook for Adidas in the coming year, the company said in Thursday’s statement. Adidas raised its full-year earnings forecast for the group earlier this month after a strong third quarter. The sale is subject to closing conditions and is expected to go through in the first quarter of 2022, according to Adidas.