-Wilson racket maker Amer Sports leaps on $5.3 bln approach by China's Anta
(Repeats to wider distribution, no changes to text)
* Amer Sports confirms interest from Anta, FountainVest
Amer says shareholders would get 40 euros/share
Shares rise by more than 25 percent on bid interest
By Anne Kauranen and Julie Zhu
HELSINKI/HONG KONG, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Finland's Amer
Sports, makers of Wilson tennis rackets and branded
outdoor gear, has received a 4.6 billion euros ($5.3 billion)
takeover approach from China's Anta Sports and private
equity firm FountainVest.
Amer shareholders would get 40 euros per share in cash if
the deal went ahead, the Helsinki-based maker of Salomon hiking
boots and Arc'teryx outdoor clothing said on Tuesday, lifting
its shares more than 25 percent.
The offer represents a nearly 40 percent premium to Monday's
closing price before the approach was made public.
Amer's second-largest shareholder, a Finnish association
with a 4.29 percent stake, said it was open to the proposal
but needed more time to evaluate it properly.
"Of course, if the price is right, everything is for sale,"
the association's head Timo Maasilta told Reuters.
Amer's largest shareholder, Finnish pension fund
KEVA, declined to comment on the approach by Anta, which sells
the Fila and Descente brands as well as its own home-grown Anta
label in China.
Anta, which wants to expand overseas by acquiring other
well-established global brands, has long targeted Amer.
Anta confirmed on Wednesday it and private equity firm
FountainVest Partners had submitted a preliminary indication of
interest to buy the entire share capital of Amer Sports at 40
euros per share in cash, but no definitive agreement had been
Danske Bank portfolio manager Juha Varis said the offer was
"by no means underpriced".
"The Chinese partner (Anta) is clearly more profitable and
has grown faster than Amer. So it makes sense, at least on
paper," Varis told Reuters.
Anta, China's biggest sportswear retailer by market value,
reported in August a record half-year profit as its online and
offline businesses benefited from strong growth in the country's
Anta has said Chinese sports brands must go beyond offering
low prices and compete on quality, innovation, value and brand.
"We believe what Anta lack is a more high-end and
professional brand such as Solomon, Wilson, Arc'teryx," Walter
Woo, an analyst at CMB International, wrote in a research note.
"What Amer lack is a new growth driver, (and it) could be
the China market or the E-commerce market," he said.
The Finnish firm said the Anta-FountainVest consortium had
indicated that a deal was subject to conditions including the
approval of investors holding at least 90 percent of its shares.
"At this time, Amer Sports is not engaged in any
negotiations with the consortium and has made no decisions in
respect of the indication of interest," it said in a statement.
The Chinese consortium aims to submit an offer to Amer in
the coming weeks and finalise the buyout deal by the end of the
year, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
($1 = 0.8634 euros)
(Reporting by Anne Kauranen in HELSINKI and Julie Zhu in HONG
KONG; Additional reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Alexander
Smith and Darren Schuettler)
First Published: 2018-09-12 06:41:47
Updated 2018-09-12 06:49:44
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