This morning Adidas-Salomon officially announced what was in the air already: The German sports company is going to take over its US competitor Reebok. Reebok’s chairman and CEO, Paul Fireman, has agreed to the transaction. After the shareholders and the Federal Cartel Office give their approval, Adidas will purchase Reebok shares worth 3.1 billion euro (US $3.8 billion). The transaction should be completed in the first half of 2006 both companies said.

With the merger, Adidas-Salomon will strengthen its position on the US market, especially against its number one competitor Nike. With total sales of 9 billion Euro (US $11 billion) Adidas/Reebok will become quite close to Nike, the world leader in sports, whose business is worth 11 billion euro (US $13.4 billion). In the USA alone the Adidas turnover will double to 3.1 billion euro (US $3.9 billion). “We will gain presence in the market more than ever. Reebok is strong in typical American sports such as football and basketball, whereas Adidas is known in soccer with the World Championships, the Fifa, the Olympic Games and the Champions League,” Adidas’ CEO Herbert Hainer said.

There won’t be main changes in the structures of both companies. Reebok will keep its brand name, the headquarters will remain in Canton, Massachusetts, and Fireman will stay on to head the team. Adidas’ headquarters will remain in Herzogenaurach, Germany and its North American heaquarters will stay in Portland, Oregon.

“In the future Adidas wants to focus on sports garment and shoes,” Hainer added. A first step in this direction was the selling of Salomon (wintersports and biking) to Amer Sports in May.

– Sabine Kühnl, Bureau Chief Germany