Francois-Henri Pinault, Kering CEO, Said to Have Explored Sale of Sportswear Maker Puma

The owner of Puma SE (PUM) has explored a sale of the German sportswear maker as efforts to revive the brand drag into a fifth year, according to people familiar with the matter.

Kering SA (KER), which also owns Gucci, contacted potential buyers earlier this year to gauge interest, said the people, who asked not to be identified because talks are private. Sovereign-wealth funds from the Middle East such as Qatar as well as Asian investors were approached, they said.

The discussions have yet to lead to any sort of takeover proposal and it remains unclear whether the company will still pursue a sale of the brand, the people said. Representatives for Kering, Puma and Qatar declined to comment.

Kering owns about 86 percent of Puma, having acquired control of the sporting-goods maker in 2007. Puma, which has a market valuation of about 2.5 billion euros ($3.1 billion) based on the remaining traded shares, is revamping athletic shoes and stepping up marketing as it seeks to reorient the company’s positioning around performance gear.

Kering is also making changes at Gucci, where the top two executives are stepping down amid faltering growth.

In April, Kering Chairman Francois-Henri Pinault said he was convinced the company should have a sports and lifestyle division that wouldn’t be expanded until he’d revived Puma.

Mario Ortelli, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, is skeptical about .... Continue reading on Bloomberg....

Source Bloomberg

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