Adidas' Baton Is Passed To An Adman

With ad giant Saatchi & Saatchi on the mend, its CEO, Robert Louis-Dreyfus, is stepping down on Apr. 1 to head a group acquiring Germany's ailing sport-apparel company, Adidas, for $372 million. The group, which includes Citibank and three state-owned French financial institutions led by Credit Lyonnais, is buying the $2 billion company from businessman-politician Bernard Tapie.

Restoring Adidas against fierce competition from Nike and Reebok will take all of Louis-Dreyfus' cost-cutting skills. He may look to shift production to Asia from Europe. That's a strategy Pentland Group wanted to pursue until its planned acquisition of Adidas collapsed last fall.

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