P.M. BRIEFING : French Investor to Buy Adidas

From Times Wire Services

French businessman Bernard Tapie disclosed today that he will pay $290 million for an 80% stake in the West German manufacturer Adidas AG and receive financing from eight French, German and Japanese banks.

Tapie, a soccer team owner and Socialist member of Parliament, had announced plans to take over the sportings goods company July 7 in Rome, the day before the finals of the World Cup. But he had refused to disclose details of the transaction.

Some industry observers questioned where Tapie would obtain the necessary financing. The value of his purchase from the Dassler family was estimated in the German press to be as much as $540 million, but Tapie told reporters he had obtained a bargain price.

Adidas has been losing market share in recent years to strong U.S. competitors such as Nike Inc. and Reebok International Inc.