BASKETBALL SHOES WITH light-emitting diodes meet social activism: Sense a disaster in the making? Trendy athletic shoemaker L.A. Gear announced on Jan. 30 that it would acquire Ryka, a tiny maker of high-performance footwear for women. Ryka is known for ads that combine a workout message with calls to end domestic violence. L.A. Gear, which posted a loss of $22 million last year, is known for earnings troubles. Still, it will pay about $16 million for the company, plus warrants for Ryka's shares. L.A. Gear said Ryka would be the first of many purchases and licensing arrangements aimed at expanding into the upscale women's and children's sneaker market.

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