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Lululemon founder to join the takeover bid for Amer

Chip Wilson Lululemon

Canadian founder of yoga-apparel retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc., Chip Wilson, is close to joining the Chinese investor group pursuing a takeover of Amer Sports Oyj.


The billionaire is in talks to take around a 20 per cent stake as part of the consortium led by Anta Sports Products Ltd.

The buyer group and Helsinki-based Amer could announce a takeover agreement as soon as the next few weeks, a anonymous source reported.

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.

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 reportedly ongoing, and precise terms could change. No final decisions have been made, and the talks could still be delayed or fall apart.

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.

SEE ALSO : Lululemon’s success drives store expansion

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)