Reebok is going back to its basketball roots: Authentic Brands Group CEO

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·2 min read

The sneaker brand that gave us impressive drops from basketball icons Allen Iverson and Shaquille O'Neal throughout the late 90s and 2000s is going back to its roots, says the CEO of its soon-to-be new owner.

"Whether it's Iverson or Shaquille O'Neal bringing back the Pump [sneaker], getting back into the basketball business in a major way is one our focuses," said Authentic Brands Group (ABG) founder and CEO Jamie Salter on Yahoo Finance Live, referring to the Reebok.

Authentic Brands Group won a fierce bidding battle (which included music mogul Master P) in August for Reebok by offering $2.5 billion to its owner Adidas. The deal was made as Adidas sought to shift focus back to its namesake brand, while finding a home for a Reebok that many analysts believe didn't get enough attention since it was acquired in 2006 for $3.8 billion.

Salter expects the transaction to close sometime in the first quarter of 2022. It will join a portfolio of 30 brands collected by Salter including Forever 21, Brooks Brothers, Aeropostale, Eddie Bauer and Shaquille O'Neal's apparel line.

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Los Angeles Clippers Center Montrezl Harrell (5) Reebok Pump shoes during a NBA game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers on November 15, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Los Angeles Clippers Center Montrezl Harrell (5) Reebok Pump shoes during a NBA game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers on November 15, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Shaq — an ABG shareholder — reportedly pushed the company to make the deal for Reebok. It's logical that ABG wastes no time in collaborating with the brand's biggest ambassador who helped market the iconic Pump basketball sneaker.

Added Salter, "Some of the real important things about Reebok is really digging into the archive files and bringing some of those classic silhouettes back.

The Reebok deal comes as ABG just secured another big deal this week.

CVC Capital Partners and HPS Investment Partners acquired significant stakes in ABG, valuing the business at $12.7 billion.

"They bought approximately 25% of the company, and we are going to stay private now for the next few years," added Salter.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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