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Adidas reportedly prepares sale of the Reebok brand

Reebok shoes were displayed on the sidelines of an Adidas press conference at the company's headquarters in Herzogenaurach, southern Germany.
Reebok shoes were displayed on the sidelines of an Adidas press conference at the company's headquarters in Herzogenaurach, southern Germany.CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images

Adidas AG, the German sportswear giant, is exploring a sale of its Reebok brand, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The company will decide in the coming months whether to proceed with a sales process, said the person, who asked not to be identified because deliberations are private. The internal review is in the early stages, the person said.

A spokeswoman for Adidas said the company doesn’t comment on market rumors. Adidas shares rose as much as 3.4 percent in Frankfurt trading.

Adidas acquired Reebok for $3.8 billion in 2006 when the company was still based in Canton. As part of a 2017 relocation, Reebok moved about 700 employees to Boston.

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Since taking over as chief executive of Adidas in 2016, Kasper Rorsted has repeatedly parried rumors that he was looking to sell the brand. He closed underperforming Reebok stores and allowed some licensing deals to expire, cutting sales at the long unloved sporting label but cutting expenses even more.

After Reebok finally regained profitability by early 2019, Rorsted expressed hope that he could now generate sales growth with new footwear lines like the CrossFit Nano and the FloatRide Run. He compared overseeing Adidas and Reebok to being like a parent who loves both his children equally.

Reebok in the pandemic has suffered more than the Adidas brand. While sales at the German label fell 33 percent in the second quarter, Reebok’s revenue fell 42 percent, the company said.

Manager Magazin reported on the review earlier Thursday, and said interested parties include VF Corp., which owns the Timberland and North Face brands, as well as China’s Anta International Group Holdings. While Rorsted had hoped for about $2.4 billion from selling Reebok before the pandemic, he would now be content with less than that amount, the magazine said.