American sports giants Nike cut losses and sell Manchester-based Umbro in price-slashed deal

By Alex Bysouth

American clothing giants Nike have cut their losses and flogged Manchester-based Umbro for less than half what they paid five years ago.

The sports retail brand was purchased for £285million by Nike in 2007 but will be sold to Iconix Brand Group – owners of Madonna’s Material Girl and Jay-Z’s Rocawear – for £140million.

Before selling off Cheadle-based Umbro, Nike declared their intention of shifting focus within the company to drive growth in other brands Jordan, Converse and Hurley.

Nike president and chief executive Mark Parker said: “Umbro has a great heritage, but ultimately, as our category strategy has evolved, we believe Nike Football can serve the needs of footballers both on and off the pitch.”

Formed in 1924, the company has produced every England kit aside from an eight-year stretch for the last 60 years – but they lost the contract to Nike in August.

Umbro has more than 30 licensees in more than 100 countries and Iconix’s worldwide sales are expected to surpass £8billion – last year Umbro earned £139million in revenue.

Neil Cole, Iconix chief executive, said: “Umbro is a true, authentic football brand with a global loyal consumer fan base and we are thrilled to be adding it to our portfolio of iconic brands.”

Nike already share a partnership with Manchester United and as of next season will also supply rivals Manchester City’s kit.

The American firm have also inked a five year deal to manufacture England national team kits from spring 2013, signalling the end of a link with Umbro that spanned seven decades.

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