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The England team will continue to wear Umbro branded shirts even if, as now looks certain, Nike succeed in a takeover bid

Umbro, the maker of the England football team's kit, has agreed to be bought by US sportswear giant Nike in a deal worth £285m ($580m).

Nike said the deal would allow it to "significantly expand" its presence in "a key growth category" for the firm. As well as providing kit for the England team, Umbro also supplies the kit for six Premier League clubs. The Football Association said Nike had assured it that the FA's relationship with Umbro would be protected. Manchester-based Umbro said last month that sales of England tops had been "disappointing", and analysts are concerned that sales could suffer if England fail to qualify for next year's European Championship.

Defensive moves

Speculation had been rising that Nike was set to launch a bid after Umbro said last week that it had received an approach about a possible offer.

On Friday, retailer JJB Sports bought a 10.1% stake in Umbro in a move to protect its stake in the market for England football shirts.

The owner of rival retailer Sports World, Sports Direct International, already owns a 15% stake in Umbro.

In addition to the England team, Umbro also provides kit for the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway, and Sweden.

In the Scottish Premier League, Umbro supplies kit to Rangers and Hearts.

 

'Excellent deal'

Under the terms of the offer, Umbro shareholders will receive 193.06p for each share. In Tuesday afternoon trade Umbro's shares were up 25.5p, or 15.5%, at 190.5p.

The chief executive of Umbro, Steve Makin, said the offer was an "excellent deal" for shareholders.

"We will be a stronger and better business as part of Nike and this deal will allow us to accelerate our existing growth strategy by leveraging Nike's global resources and expertise," he added.

Brian Barwick, the chief executive of the FA, said: "We are delighted that the proposed acquisition will allow us to continue our strong historical relationship with Umbro while benefiting from the marketing expertise and financial strength of Nike."

"Nike has provided firm assurances that the FA relationship with Umbro will be protected and enhanced, and we look forward to working closely with both companies moving forward," Mr Barwick added.

 

'World class brand'

Nike began moving into football in the early 1990s and has been steadily expanding its share of the market, catching up with German rival Adidas.

"There is an ongoing battle between Nike and Adidas to sign up the very top teams," said Nigel Currie, director at sports brand experts Brand Rapport.

"From a marketability point of view, the Nike brand is very appealing to top clubs and international federations," he added.

In its offer document, Nike said Umbro was "a world-class, authentic football brand, with well established positions in key growth markets and a deep football heritage".

"As such, Umbro is highly complementary to Nike's existing football business and it is intended that it will operate as an independent, UK headquartered Nike affiliate," the US firm said.

 

 

Comments (8)

  1. fsc

Aslong as the Umbro Diamond remains on the England Shirt and doesn\'t get replaced by the Nike Swosh I can live with it.<br /><br />True the current Eng Home has a horrible template and a boring design(which appart the results) is a major factor why it isn\'t selling that good btw.

 
  1. fsc

I hate that. Out of all the big sports companies I liked Umbro and Adidas, and I hate Reebok and NIke, why couldn\'t Adidas buy Umbro and Nike buy Reebok?

 
  1. fsc

They are buying a lot of football knowledge and history with this (bargain?)deal. Don\'t think they are going to put a Nike swoosh on a umbro kit, but probably some big Umbro teams going to change to Nike in the following seasons. :idea: Good point kolja..it\'s better when you turn it around. For some reason I think of football when I hear the names Adidas and Umbro. When I hear Nike or Reebok I think of .. Running..

 
  1. fsc

hi there i think buisness will boom big time if nike sponser england in football they sponser them in rugby and shirts go like crazy umbro is boring and it has no stlye nike yes please it will make a big diffrence in the team and in the fans umbro are out of date all the shirts theyve made for england in the past have always been the same plan and ugly white if it fits the market it will sell

 
  1. fsc

adidas bought reebok last year!

 
  1. fsc

nike have been eyeing the england contract for years. They even producted a prototype. Its code name:<br /><br />Inter Milan Away 07/08

 
  1. Guest

reebok do not use that logo anymore, they&#039;ve gone from their hi tech buisness to old fashin sh*t

 
  1. mark coackley

Yeah i know but i like it better !!

 
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