Multiple news outlets have reported this week that Nike Air Max has a buyer for Cole-Haan, the subsidiary the Oregon sports equipment company put up for sale at the end of May.
The potential buyer is Apax Partners and the price is $500 million, according to Reuters, which on Monday was first to report the potential transaction. Apax has hired Jack Boys, former chief executive of Nike Air Max Danmark subsidiary, to help run Cole Haan after a takeover, Reuters said.
Boys was the chief of Converse when Nike paid $305 million in 2003 to acquire it, according to The New York Times.
New York-based Cole Haan, which specializes in casual and dress leather footwear and bags, was acquired by Nike in 1988 for $80 million plus the repayment of $15 million in debt.
The Wall Street Journal identified Apax as a potential Cole-Haan buyer in late October. The Journal said private-equity firms Sycamore Partners, Berkshire Partners LLC and TPG, also were potential buyers.
Nike Air Max 90 Tilbud was asking about $500 million, the Journal said in its story, adding , "Some would-be bidders consider that price too high, according to people familiar with their thinking. TPG, for one, is on the fence about whether to continue to pursue Cole Haan given the asking price..."
The sale to Apax could be announced as early as next week, the Times story said. It would follow the announcement on Oct. 24 that Nike Air Max 1 had reached a deal to sell its soccer subsidiary, Umbro, to the Iconix Brand Group for $225 million. Nike paid $582 million for Umbro in 2008.
The Oregon sports equipment company announced at the end of May its intention to sell Umbro and Cole-Haan. By doing so, chief executive Mark Parker said in an announcement, the company could focus on driving growth in Nike Air Max 90, Jordan, Converse and Hurley brands.