Adidas May See An Activist Investor Intervention
Ever since Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris and U.S. investor Mason Hawkins teamed up and created a combined investing entity, spectators of Adidas (ETR: ADS) have been on edge. Analysts and other shareholders believed that the German sportswear company would be pressured to sell off Reebok and targeted by the new Activist investors. These fears were so far unrealized.
As of January of 2016, these investors have made no claims to begin pressuring the company into doing anything. They’re not facing activist pressure — backed by what Adidas’s CFO has said publicly. Robin Stalker, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, had this to say about activist pressure ”I've never had a conversation where anyone has given me any pressure about anything.”
Mr. Sawiris has around a 6% stake in the company through NNS Holding. This isn’t to say that Adidas isn’t thinking about selling off other parts of the company to start improving their standings. Right now is a critical time for the company as they attempt to boost their profitability and compete with their biggest competitor Nike. After coming off of three profit warnings from last year, it is time for Adidas to step it up and they have a few options.
Adidas has said that they are considering selling off a different part of the company. There is a possibility that they will sell off some of their golf brands. Herbert Heiner, current CEO, has said they would think about the sale of the TaylorMade rather than Reebok.
Stalker said that TaylorMade doesn’t necessarily fit in with their long-term strategy. He stated, ” We are more in soft goods and footwear than we are in hard goods. The TaylorMade part of golf is hard goods. If we were to decide to divest, it has to be for the right price. We don’t need to sell TaylorMade,”
They’ll decide in the first quarter if they’re to sell off golf brand TaylorMade or not. There could be future change paired with the fact that Heiner will be leaving his position as CEO. These activist investors may lay dormant for now, but they could be a force for change for the future of the company.
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