Nike To Buy Soccer Supplier Umbro for $582 Million

U.S. shoe giant hopes acquisition of Britain-based Umbro β€” which does business in more than 90 countries β€” will increase its presence in the global soccer market.

LONDON (AP) β€” Nike will acquire Britain's Umbro PLC for $582 million, the companies announced Tuesday, as the U.S. apparel and shoe maker seeks a larger presence in the global soccer market.
Nike Inc., through its subsidiary Nike Vapor Ltd., agreed to pay 193.06 pence ($3.94) in cash for each Umbro share, a 61 percent premium over the closing price Oct. 17, the last business day before Umbro confirmed that it had received an offer.
Umbro β€” based in Cheadle, northwest England β€” designs, sources and markets soccer-related apparel, footwear and equipment sold in more than 90 countries.
Umbro, together with its 45 international licensees, supplies uniforms to the national teams of England, Ireland, Sweden and Norway, six English Premier League teams and more than 100 other professional teams globally.
The company reported a net profit of 19.8 million pounds ($40.4 million) in 2006, down from 22 million pounds in the previous year.
Umbro shares were up 14 percent in early trading on the London Stock Exchange at 188.25 pence ($3.85).
''The price of 193 pence looks a good price for the business β€” it would certainly not be worth this in the absence of any bid,'' said Andrew Wade, an analyst at Seymour Pierce in London.
The deal was backed by The Football Association, the governing body for English soccer.
''The FA has enjoyed an excellent partnership with Umbro for more than 20 years. We are delighted that the proposed acquisition will allow us to continue our strong historical relationship with Umbro while benefiting from the marketing expertise and financial strength of Nike,'' said Brian Barwick, The FA's chief executive officer.
''Nike has provided firm assurances that The FA relationship with Umbro will be protected and enhanced, and we look forward to working closely with both companies moving forward.''
Nike, based in Beaverton, Ore., has been expanding aggressively outside the United States. In the first quarter, it reported revenue growing by 22 percent in the Asia-Pacific region and 16 percent in Europe, compared to 2 percent growth in the United States.
Nike said it intended to operate Umbro as an independent, U.K.-based subsidiary, like its Converse brand.
''Umbro is a brand with a powerful heritage and deep experience in the world's most popular sport and the world's biggest football market. With its close links to The Football Association and the England team, Umbro's future is even stronger than its past,'' said Mark Parker, Nike president and chief executive officer.