Adidas Buys Reebok

Another big story from the consumer-goods industry today: Adidas-Salomon AG, the world’s second-biggest sporting-gods maker, has agreed to buy Reebok International Ltd. for $59 a share, or $3.8 billion. Not that this particularly concerns me, I mourned when Nike bought Converse.

Heh, that would be “sporting-goods maker,” of course.

That seems like losing deal unless Reebok has some unusual sneaker technology or vastly cheaper sweatshop labor. Sure, they get the Reebok brand name, but a sneaker is pretty much a sneaker.

So, will they go with “Reedas” or “Adibok”?

OK, OK, I’ll go slap myself with a fish …

Humph. Reeboks fit me much better than any other brand, for some reason. I hope they don’t change the make, or completely eliminate the brand.

According to Bloomberg, the benefit for Adidas is that the purchase doubles the company’s sales in the U.S. and its share of the country’s sporting-goods market. Adidas will control about a fifth of the market after the deal closes, while Nike has a 40% share. The purchase also brings Adidas the licenses to outfit the NFL and the NBA, which I imagine can’t hurt publicity.

According to the Bloomberg story and the press release, Reebok will continue to operate under its own name and keep its Massachusetts headquarters, so it doesn’t sound as though they’re planning any drastic changes.

Sneakers are vastly different from each other in consumers’ minds: That drives sales. No amount of “all sneakers are alike” advertising will ever convince people to drop their Nikes and sport “Adidas”. Recognizing this, Adidas buys Reebok.

If Adidas thought like you, they’d never gain market share.

Mebbe, although I’ve personally never been able to perceive much difference between the major sneaker brands. But consumers are fickle. So if they decide Adidas == Reebok, they may just buy the cheaper of the two. Or may decide, if Adidas suck, then now Reeboks must also suck, so it’s time to buy Nike. And while I’ll personally stick with a brand simply to avoid having to make time-consuming decisions, it doesn’t take much to make me switch. If a sneaker manufacture switches to (what I consider) to be a retarded design or a given brand starts coming apart on me, then I’ll switch.

I’ve almost always worn Reebok, since wayback (I think I got my first pair in '85.). They are damn comfortable shoes and fit me well. I sure hope they stick with their unique design standard. They are good looking, reasonably priced, and comfortable shoes. They definitely got my consumer loyalty.

I bought a pair of an older, evidently discontinued, model of theWaikato sandal last winter at a reebok outlet store and I swear it’s the best $30.00 I’ve ever spent. Like butter, the comfort!

Of course, Reebok is (was) a good old British firm, founded in the 1890’s in Bolton, Lancashire.