Nike Inc. (NKE) reported Wednesday that it has come to terms to sell is Umbro unit to Iconix Brand Group Inc. (ICON) for $225 million. Iconix is in the business of acquiring brands and then licensing the rights to retailers, such as Target (TGT) and Wal-Mart (WMT), which manufacture and sell products.
Nike acquired the Umbro brand in 2008 when it was looking to expand operations.
The move to sell Umbro, a brand that is most closely associated with soccer (or football) across the world, is part of Nike’s streamlining of operations to focus on its namesake brand as well as its other brands like Jordan, Hurley and Converse.
In May, Nike announced its intention to divest of Umbro and Cole Haan from its portfolio.
Speaking of “Cole,” Iconix is headed-up by Neil Cole, brother of designer Kenneth Cole. Umbro will be joining Iconix’s portfolio of assets that includes Mossimo, Ocean Pacific, Marc Ecko, Candie’s shoes, Badgley Mischka, Ed Hardy, Sharper Image and many more. Iconix also has an 80 percent interest in the Peanuts brand. In 2009, the Cole brothers talked about Iconix buying the Kenneth Cole brand, but a deal never came to fruition.
Founded in 1924 in Cheshire, England, Umbro has a legacy as the go-to name in soccer. Nike, which is now the supplier to the NFL for uniforms, put that legacy in a hurt locker recently when it used its all-conquering power to replace Umbro as the kit supplier to the English national team; a move that disturbed many football faithful in the country.
“It is a difficult decision to divest any business but this action will enable us to focus on our highest-potential growth opportunities,” said Nike, Inc. President and CEO Mark Parker. “Umbro has a great heritage, but ultimately, as our category strategy has evolved, we believe Nike Football can serve the needs of footballers both on and off the pitch.”
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