Mergers & Acquisitions

Lululemon’s founder to join Anta, Tencent and FountainVest to take over Amer Sports, sources say

  • Helsinki-based Amer Sports owns such brands as Salomon winter sports gear, Wilson tennis gear, and Arc’teryx outdoor gear
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 December, 2018, 1:49pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 December, 2018, 1:50pm

The founder of yoga apparel retailer Lululemon Athletica is close to joining the Chinese investor group pursuing a takeover of Amer Sports Oyj, owner of brands including Wilson tennis rackets, people familiar with the matter said.

Canadian billionaire Chip Wilson is in talks to take around a 20 per cent stake as part of the consortium led by Anta Sports Products, according to the people.

The buyer group and Helsinki-based Amer could announce a takeover agreement as soon as the next few weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Shares of Amer climbed by the most in almost three months.

Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings has been discussing joining the Anta consortium with a stake of roughly 5 to 10 per cent, the people said. Anta said in September it had teamed up with Chinese buyout firm FountainVest Partners to make an indicative offer valuing Amer at about 4.7 billion (US$5.3 billion).

Amer’s portfolio of well-known sports brands, including Salomon ski boots, could be an attractive prospect for Anta ahead of the upcoming Olympic Games in Asia. The Finnish company also sells Louisville Slugger baseball bats, Arc’teryx outdoor gear and Atomic winter equipment.

Anta, which has a market value of about US$12.6 billion, has been working to grow its business overseas amid a Chinese government push to expand in sports ranging from soccer to skiing. Negotiations are ongoing, and precise terms could change, the people said. No final decisions have been made, and the talks could still be delayed or fall apart, the people said.

A representative for the Chinese consortium said she could not immediately comment. Wilson could not immediately be reached. A spokeswoman for Tencent declined to comment, while a representative for Amer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Shares of Amer rose 5.5 per cent, the most since September 11, to 34.88 at the close Monday in Helsinki.

Wilson’s holding company Hold It All, which manages his family’s investments and real estate, also has a private equity unit and a philanthropic arm. He stepped down from the board of Vancouver-based Lululemon in 2015, two years after resigning as chairman. Wilson has a net worth of about US$3.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.