Adidas to Enter Negotiations to Sell Parts of Golf Business

LONDON — Adidas said on Wednesday that it was seeking to sell parts of its golf business, including TaylorMade, one of the world’s best-known brands of golf equipment.

The German sportswear maker began a strategic review last year of its golf business, announcing that it had hired an investment bank to explore options for the business, which has struggled in recent years to gain momentum.

On Wednesday, Adidas, which is based in Herzogenaurach, Germany, said that its executive board had concluded the review and had decided to enter “concrete negotiations with interested parties” to sell parts of its golf division.

Adidas to Enter Negotiations to Sell Parts of Golf Business 1

Adidas said that it would actively seek a buyer for its TaylorMade, Adams, and Ashworth brands instead of focusing on golf footwear and apparel sales through its Adidas golf brand.

“TaylorMade is a very viable business,” Herbert Hainer, the Adidas chief executive, said in a news release. “However, we decided that now is the time to focus even more on our core strength in the athletic footwear and apparel market.”

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A final decision on selling the business, including any potential agreement, is subject to Adidas’s supervisory board’s approval.

TaylorMade was founded in 1979 by Gary Adams, a golf equipment salesman, and Adidas acquired it in 1997. Its clubs are carried by professional golfers, including Justin Rose, Jason Day, and Sergio García.

As Adidas expanded its golf business, it acquired the Ashworth brand for $72.8 million, including debt, in 2008 and the Adams brand in 2012 for $70 million.

The TaylorMade-Adidas Golf business posted sales of 1.34 billion euros, or about $1.5 billion, in 2012, but they have steadily declined in recent years. It posted sales of €902 million last year.

In the first quarter of this year, Adidas said that its TaylorMade-Adidas Golf business decreased 1 percent on a currency-neutral basis. The company said that growth at the core brands TaylorMade and Adidas Golf was more than offset by sales declines at Ashworth and Adams in the quarter.