Nike, which is the world’s largest maker of athletic shoes and clothing, has agreed to buy the British sportswear firm Umbro in a deal that values it at almost 410 million euros. Umbro supplies the national soccer teams of England, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Sweden and Norway, as well as six FA Premier League teams and more than 100 other professional teams worldwide.
Nike promised that Umbro would stay an independent affiliate, headquartered in the UK, and called this a merger opportunity “made in heaven” that would give it a clear leadership in football globally.
Umbro recently warned that its profits next year would fall short of forecasts after disappointing sales of England replica shirts this year and there are concerns that sales could suffer if England fail to qualify for next year’s European Championships. Nike, which started to sell football gear in the early 1990s, has been playing catch-up in that sport with German sportswear giant Adidas with both battling to sign up the top teams. The offer is 61% higher than the share price just before Umbro revealed that there was take over interest.