Bye bye Three Stripes: adidas is selling off Reebok to Authentic Brands Group in a deal estimated at around €2.1 billion (approximately $2.5 billion), according to Reuters. The German sportswear giant confirmed that it was putting Reebok up for sale earlier this year.
Offloading Reebok seemed to be a major push for adidas, so the sale must be a real relief for the Three Stripes. “As part of the development of our new five-year strategy, we have assessed strategic alternatives for Reebok and decided to begin a formal process aimed at divesting the brand,” it said in its 2020 annual report in December.
adidas purchased Reebok in 2006 for $3.8 billion but hadn’t been able to turn enough profits to keep investors happy with the Boston-based brand’s progress.
“After careful consideration, we have come to the conclusion that Reebok and adidas will be able to significantly better realize their growth potential independently of each other,” adidas CEO Kaspar Rorsted said when announcing his company’s divestiture plan for Reebok earlier this year. “We will work diligently in the coming months to ensure a successful future for the Reebok brand and the team behind it.”
Reebok competed with rival giants like Nike, PUMA, and even adidas in the sportswear market and apparently wasn’t able to provide ample challenge to stand out — or at least enough to keep adidas investors happy. That being said, Reebok was quite dominant in certain areas of sport, like crossfit (until 2020).
New owner Authentic Brands Group oversees a variety of labels but none are quite like Reebok. Its portfolio includes fashion brands like Forever 21 and Brooks Brothers — both acquired in 2020 — and footwear companies like Frye, Airwalk, and Tretorn. The Reebok purchase appears to be, if nothing else, ABG’s attempt to muscle into the realm of hip sportswear.
From a sneakerhead’s perspective, though, it’s seems like Reebok has done everything right recently. It’s been dropping covetable collaborations and innovative in-house designs, even bringing relevant talent into the fold to set Reebok on a progressive track.
Just goes to show that, these days, there’s much more to the sportswear biz than merely making cool kicks.