Umbro accepts Nike offer

Umbro, the sportswear company that produces the England football team kit, has agreed to a £285m takeover bid from Nike, in a deal endorsed by the Football Association (FA).

It emerged last week that Nike had made a surprise bid for the Manchester-based firm. The proposed deal was thrown into doubt when JJB Sports, concerned about its position in the England replica shirt market, bought a blocking stake.

But this morning it was announced the Umbro board had unanimously recommended Nike’s cash offer of 195p a share.

Umbro has been in partnership with the FA for more than 20 years and its production of the England football kit is seen as one of its greatest assets. The England team’s recent defeat in Russia has made qualification for the Euro 2008 look increasingly unlikely. Should England fail to qualify for the tournament it would have a major impact on sales of England replica kit next year.

Insiders say that Nike made its original approach some time ago and has remained resolute despite the doubt over England’s qualification for Euro 2008 and Umbro issuing a profits warning three weeks ago saying it would miss sales targets.

Umbro will join Converse in Nike’s portfolio of brands. Converse was acquired in 2003 and has grown consistently since, generating a 22 per cent compound revenue growth rate.

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