The Adidas sale of Reebok might be happening after all.
Sterne Agee analyst Sam Poser said in a report to investors this week that Adidas and Reebok have been separating their shared internal functions, which may indicate that Adidas is ready to sell.
Apparently Adidas' ownership of the Reebok brand (Reebok was acquired by Adidas AG in August 2005 for $3.8 billion) resulted in an intertwining of the two, in which things like product development, marketing, and sales were all shared. These deep connections would have made it "virtually impossible" for Adidas to sell Reebok, hence the Three Stripes' recent efforts to undo the connections.
"Recently, there has been some conjecture that Adidas was looking to sell the Reebok brand," the Sterne Agee report reads. "We do believe that conjecture."
News of the possible sale first surfaced last year, when it was reported that a Chinese investment group had raised funds to purchase Reebok from Adidas.
Speaking with Sole Collector on the possibility of the sale last October, industry insiders weighed in.
"Reebok has redefined fitness for the industry with CrossFit," said Ellen Schmidt-Devlin, a 27-year Nike veteran who currently serves as the project leader for the University of Oregon's Sports Product Management program. "As the value of this innovation is only now being realized by the brand, waiting to sell may be the right strategy for Adidas."
Nick Engvall, a digital content manager at Finish Line and sneaker culture writer, also thought the sale would be the wrong move for Adidas. "Selling Reebok now would be reactive and would be a temporary solution to a much bigger challenge," Nick said. "In my opinion, it’s always better to be proactive than reactive."
While Adidas has remained quiet on the possibility of its selling of Reebok, it is planning to sell Rockport, another shoe brand under its umbrella. Adidas will sell Rockport to New Balance and private-equity firm Berkshire Partners for $280 million.