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Adidas not facing shareholder pressure to sell Reebok: FT

Tuesday, December 29, 2015 - 14:54

[FRANKFURT] Adidas is not facing pressure from activist shareholders to offload more assets, like fitness brand Reebok, the German sporting goods group's finance chief told the Financial Times. "I've never had a conversation where anyone has given me any pressure about anything," the FT quoted Robin Stalker as saying in an interview published on Tuesday.

A person familiar with the matter had told Reuters earlier this month that Egyptian tycoon Nassef Sawiris had formed a partnership with US investor Mason Hawkins and his colleagues at Southeastern Asset Management to drive change at companies they invest in, with Adidas at the top of the list.

In addition, Belgium's richest man Albert Frere acquired a 3 percent stake in Adidas earlier this year.

Stalker told the FT he had had "good discussions" with Southeastern Asset Management and Frere's GBL holding company, but had not yet spoken to Sawiris. "What has been of interest to everybody is that we have said we are prepared to look at our portfolio. We've done a very good review of that," Stalker said.

Adidas said in August it was considering the possible sale of its golf brands, as demanded by some investors, but Hainer has rejected selling Reebok, saying the long-struggling business bought in 2005 is now on the mend.

According to the FT, Adidas is to decide in the first quarter of 2016. whether to sell golf brand TaylorMade.

Sawiris is independently invested in Adidas via NNS Holding, which owned 1.74 per cent of the shares as of Oct 30, according to Thomson Reuters data, and around 6 per cent of voting rights via a number of options. Southeastern has publicly filed as holding over 3 per cent of the company.

REUTERS