Chinese suitor in advanced talks for Amer Sports


HONG KONG • Amer Sports Oyj’s Chinese suitor is advancing in negotiations over a potential takeover of the Finnish company, which owns brands including Wilson tennis rackets, people familiar with the matter said.

The Chinese investor group, led by Anta Sports Products Ltd, has started speaking with banks about financing for the transaction, according to the people. It has also been progressing in its due diligence on Amer, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

The consortium, which also includes private equity firm FountainVest Partners, held meetings in Europe with Amer shareholders in recent weeks to explain the merits of a deal, the people said. No final decisions have been made, and talks could still fall apart, according to the people.

Amer shares jumped as much as 5.3% in early trading yesterday, the biggest intraday gain in a month. They were up 2.9% at 10:34am in Helsinki yesterday.

Anta and FountainVest have made a preliminary indicative offer of €40 per share for Amer, valuing the target at about €4.7 billion (RM22.46 billion).

Amer and Anta confirmed the Chinese group’s non-binding approach last month after a Bloomberg News report on the deliberations.

Representatives for Anta and FountainVest declined to comment, while a representative for Amer didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Amer’s portfolio of well-known sports brands is an attractive prospect for Anta ahead of the upcoming Olympic Games in Asia. Beijing will host the Winter Olympics in 2022, providing a springboard for sales of skis and snowboards, while the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo will offer a showcase for other Amer brands.

The Chinese government is pushing to expand in sports ranging from soccer to skiing, as well as the industries that supply equipment for competitors and weekend enthusiasts.

Anta, which has a market value of US$10.3 billion (RM42.85 billion), has been working to expand its business overseas and is seeking acquisitions of well-established global brands.

Anta is also scouting for business partners to help it enter the European market as soon as next year, James Zheng, Anta brand president, said in a February interview.