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    Gucci owner to buy Puma

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    PPR SA, which owns the Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent fashion brands, will take over Puma, the world’s third-largest sports goods company, in a friendly takeover valuing the German group at US$7.1 billion (€5.3bn). The French luxury group said that it received approval from European and American regulators for its takeover of Puma AG.

    “There are no other barriers to the takeover, launched on May 14 following the acquisition of a 27.1 per cent stake in Puma’s capital the month before. PPR’s offer of 330 euros ($439) per share is fully supported by the Puma management and supervisory board,” a company release stated.

    In a recently held meeting, the supervisory board of Puma has unanimously appointed François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of the PPR SA, as its chairman. He replaced Johann C Lindenberg, whose term expired recently. The supervisory board is the US equivalent of a board of directors. “I am confident that PPR is the ideal partner to support Puma in its current development phase to become a global iconic sport lifestyle company,” Pinault added.

    Buying Puma will give PPR, France’s biggest non-food retailer, a global brand whose sneakers straddle sports and fashion. According to PPR, the deal will enhance Puma’s route to market, as well as allow the company to access PPR’s in-house design and sourcing skills, and benefit from the French firm’s brand-management skills.

    Puma said the deal will support its Phase IV expansion strategy, in which it has integrated seven license markets – from Japan to Canada – into the company. “Both companies have a European background and ideally complement each other with regard to their global perspective,” said Jochen Zeitz, chairman and CEO, Puma.

    Puma officials in India declined to comment on the recent developments. “It’s in a nascent stage and we can’t make any comments at present,” a Puma official told Indiaretailing. It is learnt that about 25 per cent of international sale of Puma comes from India and China. Puma entered India in 2005, and currently, the company has a total of over 50 EBOs across the country.

    Meanwhile, there was a buzz that Nike was also in the fray to buy Puma, but that turned out to be theoretical.