Nike selling its Umbro soccer brand for $225M

AP News
Posted: Oct 24, 2012 10:02 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — Nike has found a buyer for its Umbro brand, known for its soccer jerseys, in Iconix Brand Group Inc. The clothing licensing company is purchasing Umbro for $225 million in cash.

Nike Inc. had bought Umbro in 2008 for $582 million. The Beaverton, Ore., company had announced in May that it planned to sell the Umbro and Cole Haan brands to cut costs and focus on its namesake brand, along with Jordan, Converse and Hurley.

Strong demand for Nike's shoes and clothes has helped the company charge past many rivals. But, like most consumer product makers, Nike faces rising costs for labor and other raw materials, and it's dealing with an uncertain economy in Europe and a slowdown in orders in China.

Iconix will be adding Umbro to its 29 consumer brands, which include Candie's, Danskin and Badgley Mischka.

Founded in 1924 in Manchester in the United Kingdom, Umbro was one of the first makers of soccer gear. Today, it carries soccer jerseys as well as shoes, jackets and other clothing. The brand has licensees in more than 100 countries, and has a "devout following," said Iconix CEO Neil Cole.

The acquisition is expected to close by year's end. It's Iconix's second purchase from Nike. The New York company bought the athletic clothing brand Starter in 2007.

Nike shares added 25 cents to $93.07 in morning trading. Iconix stock gained 39 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $18.84.