Consortium to pay Tapie 240m pounds for Adidas

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The Independent Online
A consortium of French institutions and private investors is poised to take control of Adidas, the troubled German sports goods company, from the controversial French entrepreneur Bernard Tapie for about pounds 240m, writes Neil Thapar.

The consortium includes Robert Louis-Dreyfus, the outgoing chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi, the advertising group, and Credit Lyonnais, the French high street bank.

Mr Louis-Dreyfus is expected to take a large personal stake in Adidas and become its new chief.

The move follows more than a year of uncertainty over Adidas's future. Last July Pentland Industries, the UK leisure investments group, proposed to buy Mr Tapie's 80 per cent interest for pounds 215m.

But the deal fell through, sparking a furious response from Mr Tapie. He later acquired Pentland's 20 per cent stake and vowed to hold on to the company. Late last year, however, Adidas was put back on the market.

The company is the world's second-biggest sportswear company, with an estimated market share of 25 per cent. But it made a taxable surplus of only pounds 7.6m on sales of pounds 1.6bn in 1991.