Nike Swallows UK's Umbro

24 October 2007

CHEADLE, UK: Nike is the latest global corporate titan to grab growth by ingestion of a rival - in this instance British sportswear manufacturer Umbro, a specialist in supplying England soccer team kits.

The firm also accoutres the national teams of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway, Sweden and several UK Premier League giants.

And, even more profitably given their eyewatering prices, millions of replica kits to fans worldwide.

According to Umbro ceo Steve Makin, the £285 million ($577.95m; €408.79m) all-share sale is an "excellent deal" for shareholders.

"We will be a stronger and better business as part of Nike and this deal will allow us to accelerate our existing growth strategy by leveraging Nike's global resources and expertise," Makin eulogized.

While, eager as ever to add credence to the notion that the 'beautiful game' is more about moolah than sport, UK Football Association ceo Brian Barwick dutifully mouthed his lines.

"We are delighted that the proposed acquisition will allow us to continue our strong historical relationship with Umbro while benefiting from the marketing expertise and financial strength of Nike."

Data sourced from BBC Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff