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两强并购-看起来很美,做起来太难  

2007-03-12 15:15:12|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Adidas: Stumbling overReebok?

一场文化和时间的博弈

Sofar, the expected gains from the American shoemaker haven'tmaterialized, but management says it's getting back on track

Adidas Group's motto is "Impossible Is Nothing."But since the No. 2 sporting-goods maker announced in August, 2005,that it would snap up rival Reebok for $3.8 billion to gain afirmer footing in the U.S. and challenge market leader Nike(NKE), the company has yet to prove that the combo willwork.

Even Adidas (ADDDY) seems to be admitting it's a slog. As theHerzogenaurach (Germany) company announced on Mar. 7 that profitsincreased 26%, to $636.6 million, in 2006, it admitted that Reebok"didn't deliver the earnings accretion it had anticipated." Adidassingled out Reebok as the primary cause for a 3.6-percentage-pointdip in the group's gross margin, to 44.6%. Reebok brand sales fell9% last year, to $3.3 billion, while sales of other units,including Adidas shoes and apparel and TaylorMade-Adidas Golfequipment, rose 14%, to $10 billion.

True to its mantra, however, Adidas says it's racing flat-out tomake its tie-up with Reebok a winner. The company has closedfactories in Indonesia and is repositioning the Reebok brand towiden its appeal. "Our focus this year will be on getting Reebokback onto a growth track," Adidas Chief Executive Herbert Hainersaid in a statement. "It's going to take time, but we're moving inthe right direction."

Bad Combo

As part of that move, the company is ramping up its sales andmarketing efforts. It's reducing reliance on low-traffic,shopping-mall-based outlets and placing Reebok apparel and footwearin higher-end department stores and larger sporting-goods ventures.Adidas has also enlisted star NFL quarterback and Super Bowl MVPPeyton Manning, actress Scarlett Johansson, and other famous facesto help launch a series of new products planned in the secondquarter.

The company says it expects these efforts to increase sales ofthe Reebok brand this year in the "low-single-digit" range. Adidasexpects its gross margin in 2007 to be between 45% and 47%, thanksto "improvements in all three brand segments." For the group, thecompany expects sales in 2007 to grow in the "mid-single-digit"range.

Promising stuff, but a successful result isn't a surefire bet.Consider Adidas' ill-fated purchase of the French-owned Salomongroup a decade ago, which brought ski and golf gear into its stableof offerings. After numerous attempts to make the match work,Adidas jettisoned the Salomon ski business in October, 2005. Thecompany made the right move by keeping Salomon's TaylorMade golfbrand: Last year, sales of TaylorMade-Adidas Golf wares rose 22%,better growth than for either the Adidas or Reebok brands.

"Good Strategy"

While many may still question the cultural fit of theAmerican-German corporate tie-up, the Adidas-Reebok combo offersbenefits the Salomon merger never could. For example, Reebok'sproducts complement Adidas' traditional strength in sports such assoccer and give the German company some big-name basketballendorsements from the likes of Allen Iverson.

Reebok is also strong in women's and lifestyle fashions and hasa strong nationwide distribution network. "Reebok is still a dragoverall, but it seems management has a good strategy to get it backon track and the plan isn't out of reach," says David Meyer, ananalyst as Susquehanna Finance in New York. Although Adidas thisyear will gain some synergies on the cost side, Meyer expects thefirst real benefits from the merger to come through next year."That's a long time for investors [to wait]," he notes.

Tough Competition

Archrival Nike sure hasn't waited for Adidas to score withReebok. The Beaverton (Ore.) sneaker Goliath recently offered theGerman Soccer Federation nearly $700 million to sponsor itsnational soccer team for 10 years—an attempt to rattle Adidas, thelongtime sponsor of the German team. Nike CEO Mark Parker upped theboldness quotient again on Feb. 6, when he outlined an ambitiousplan to increase revenues by $8 billion in five years, to $23billion. What's more, Nike executives have publicly stated theywant to be the world's dominant soccer supplier by 2010 and haveintroduced a series of innovative moves, such as a partnership withApple (AAPL) to connect Nike runners with iTunes.

Nike also has been trying to boost its presence in the low-costsneaker market and among female shoppers. It recently featuredsoccer stars Brandi Chastain and Hope Solo, as well asworld-renowned volleyball player Logan Tom, at a New York pressevent to help launch Tailwind, a women's performance footwear andaccessories brand that will be sold exclusively at PaylessShoeSource (PSS).

Adidas may have upped the ante with its purchase of Reebok, butwith shares down 10% since the merger was announced and Nike notstanding still, the sportswear maker still has to show that thedeal has legs.

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