December 7, 2018

Chinese investors lead a $5 billion bid for the owner of Louisville Slugger

Chinese investors are leading an attempt to buy Amer Sports, the owner of brands including Louisville Slugger and Wilson, for more than $5 billion.

A consortium led by China's Anta Sports has offered €40 ($45) per share to acquire the Finnish sports company. That's nearly 14% above the stock's closing price on Thursday.

The group of buyers includes Chinese tech firm Tencent (TCEHY) and an investment company owned by Lululemon Athletica (LULU) founder Chip Wilson.

The offer values Amer Sports at €4.6 billion ($5.2 billion).

Amer Sports owns baseball equipment maker Louisville Slugger, trail running brand Salomon, racquet maker Wilson and the ski brand Atomic. Tennis stars Serena Williams and Roger Federer are both sponsored by Wilson.

A stock market filing from Amer Sports said it would continue to operate independently of Anta Sports, but use the Chinese company's distribution network and manufacturing capabilities to expand in the key Asian market.

"The offer .... represents an acknowledgment of the work we have done," said Amer Sports CEO Heikki Takala. "Their plan to keep Amer Sports as an independent company signals a strong confidence in our strategy and business model."

It's the second largest takeover offer from Chinese investors in Europe this year, according to data provider Dealogic. China Three Gorges bid $27.5 billion for energy company Energias de Portugal in May, but that deal has not yet been finalized.

Shares in Amer Sports (AGPDY) jumped 8% to €38.20 ($43.40) in Helsinki after the announcement. Anta Sports closed 1.9% lower in Hong Kong on Friday.

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