Struggling Adidas scored big at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil: The company sponsored nine teams, including Germany and Argentina, the winner and runner-up. Yet the key to bolstering Europe’s most popular sports brand may lie in America. Beset by plummeting golf sales and weakness in its Reebok sneaker business, Adidas is trying to boost revenue in the U.S. despite the dominance of Nike and strong growth for upstart Under Armour. With the company’s shares down about 35 percent this year, the German press has reported that hedge funds have considered taking stakes to try to oust longtime Chief Executive Officer Herbert Hainer.
Adidas spokeswoman Katja Schreiber declined to comment beyond saying that Adidas “continues to have an open dialogue with investors.” On Oct. 1 the company announced it will buy back up to €1.5 billion ($1.89 billion) of its shares over the next three years, a move analysts say is an attempt to placate investors.