The billionaire is in talks to take around a 20 per cent stake as part of the consortium led by Anta Sports Products, sources say
The Canadian founder of yoga-apparel retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc. is close to joining the Chinese investor group pursuing a takeover of Amer Sports Oyj, people familiar with the matter said.
Billionaire Chip Wilson is in talks to take around a 20 per cent stake as part of the consortium led by Anta Sports Products Ltd., 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 Ltd. 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 euros (US$5.3 billion).
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 couldn’t immediately comment. Wilson couldn’t immediately be reached. A spokeswoman for Tencent declined to comment, while a representative for Amer didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Shares of Amer surged as much as 9.7 per cent — the most since Sept. 11 — before trading up 7.2 per cent to 35.44 euros as of 1:26 p.m. in Helsinki.
Wilson’s holding company Hold It All Inc., 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$3.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Anta, which has a market value of about US$12.5 billion, has been working to grow its business overseas amid a Chinese government push to expand in sports ranging from soccer to skiing. Amer’s portfolio of well-known sports brands, including Salomon ski equipment, could be an attractive prospect for Anta ahead of the upcoming Olympic Games in Asia.
Source: Financial Post