Five months after Adidas announced plans to sell its Boston-based Reebok brand for about $2.5 billion, the athletic apparel maker will lay off about 150 people before getting a new corporate owner.
A spokesman for Reebok confirmed the layoff number via e-mail and said the “majority” of cuts would affect employees in Massachusetts.
Reebok president Matt O’Toole informed employees about the layoffs during a Zoom meeting on Jan. 19, according to someone with knowledge of the matter. O’Toole said they would take effect at the end of February, when the company is expected to be acquired by New York’s Authentic Brands Group, a firm that helps apparel, athletics, and entertainment companies sell their products.
“It goes without saying that today has been a tough day,” O’Toole wrote in an e-mail to employees shared with The Boston Globe. “And knowing this day was coming does not make the reality of it any easier.”
O’Toole said layoffs are necessary to support an “entirely different operating model” under Authentic Brands. He emphasized the company wanted to communicate the news to employees “as early as possible.”
The Reebok sale from Adidas to Authentic Brands is scheduled for Feb. 28. A representative for Adidas declined to comment on the layoffs, and Authentic Brands did not respond to a request for comment.
Roughly 4,200 people work at Reebok, including 600 based in Boston.
Adidas, the German sportswear giant, began planning to shed Reebok last February, after 15 years of trying to turn around its former competitor. Adidas announced the sale to Authentic Brands — a conglomerate whose brand portfolio includes Eddie Bauer, Forever 21, and Nine West — in August. At the time, some Reebok employees suspected layoffs could happen as part of the ownership transition, the person familiar with the matter said.
Despite the job cuts, Authentic Brands is already charting plans for Reebok to grow. It has signed agreements in several countries to manage Reebok sales and also inked a deal with a major retailer to expand Reebok’s presence in North America and Europe starting in the fall.
Reebok’s global operations will remain based at its Boston headquarters after the acquisition, and O’Toole and Todd Krinsky, a senior vice president at Reebok, will continue to lead that group.
SPARC Group — a joint venture between Authentic Brands and Simon Property Group — will license and operate Reebok in the United States and also oversee the newly named Boston hub, or “Reebok Design Group.” Jamie Salter, chief executive of Authentic Brands, said in a recent press release that he wanted to keep Reebok’s global operations in Boston to “preserve and nurture the brand’s heartbeat and unmistakable DNA.”