Chinese activewear company Anta sets sights on Amer Sports

In the midst of its own brand portfolio reshuffle, Amer Sports could well be bought out itself. The owner of Arc'teryx, Salomon, Atomic, Mavic (currently under strategic review), and, as of April, Peak Performance, announced on Tuesday that a consortium formed by Chinese rival Anta Sports and private equity fund FountainVest Partners has expressed interest in acquiring all of the Finnish company's shares. 


Professional trail runner and mountaineer Kilian Jornet kitted out by Salomon - Salomon

With revenues exceeding 2 billion euros in 2017 (16.69 billion yuan), Anta is one of the biggest names in Chinese sportswear along with Li-Ning and Peak, and it owns and operates the Fila and Descente trademarks in China. 

"Having tried to expand directly into western markets, the big Chinese sports groups are now looking to western brands with history. But it's a complicated sector and all the real goldmines already belong to other companies. They're also very enthusiastic about outdoor brands and are weighing up their options in this segment. These are companies with a lot of resources," explained an industry specialist who advises Chinese sports groups to FashionNetwork.com.

Anta would not be acting alone, though, supported as it is by FountainVest Partners, a specialist in developing Chinese companies. This Hong Kong-based investment firm currently manages an asset portfolio worth $4.5 billion (3.9 billion euros) and has a number of teams dedicated to helping companies define strategic plans and execute operational transitions. It is also an expert in mergers and acquisitions. 

The move would be a major step for the Chinese duo. Amer Sports is very much a heavyweight in its own right, having reported revenue of 2.685 billion euros in 2017. For the moment, the Finnish group's management has emphasised that no negotiations have taken place and that a deal of this kind would need to be approved by both the company's shareholders and the appropriate regulatory bodies. A source familiar with the situation told Reuters that the price of the acquisition could come to over 4 billion euros. Amer Sports' market capitalisation stood at 3.34 billion euros at end of trading on Monday. 

Translated by Robin Driver

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