Adidas Shares Soar On Rumors Loeb, Other Activists Taking Position

Adidas AG (ETR:ADS) (OTCMKTS:ADDYY) shares are soaring today, both in Frankfurt and New York, on news that several activist hedge funds, including Dan Loeb’s Third Point, were taking positions in the popular shoe maker.

The new investors, also including The Children’s Investment Fund Management UK LLP and Knight Vinke Asset Management LLC, are looking for major changes at Adidas, including a possible spin-off of the company’s Reebok and TaylorMade units, according to a report from Germany’s Manager Magazin. The article also suggested that the activists were looking to push out Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer.

According to a knowledgeable source that spoke to Bloomberg, hedge fund Knight Vinke isn’t involved in discussions regarding acquiring a stake in Adidas. Activist funds Third Point and TCI didn’t respond to e-mails seeking comment by press time.

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Problems at Adidas

The stock price of the German shoe ad sports apparel company has fallen 37% this year through yesterday. Earlier this summer, Adidas AG (ETR:ADS) (OTCMKTS:ADDYY) negated its profit profit for the year and also abandoned sales and profit targets for next year.

Analysts say the sporting-goods titan, which sponsored both finalists at the soccer World Cup a few months ago, including champion Germany, is having to deal with much tougher competition from Nike Inc. and smaller rival Under Armour Inc., as well as a steadily slipping market for golf equipment and apparel.

Statement from Adidas

Adidas “continues to have an open constructive dialog with investors,” spokeswoman Katja Schreiber noted Thursday relating to a question about activist investors taking a stake in the company.

Adidas AG (ETR:ADS) (OTCMKTS:ADDYY) shares are up $.50 in early trading today, standing at $39.72 as of 9:45 AM ET Thursday.