Reebok Buys Canadian Apparel Concern

NEW YORK Sports shoe and apparel company Reebok International said Thursday that it plans to acquire The Hockey Company, a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of hockey apparel and equipment.

Canton, Mass.-based Reebok put the price at $329 million, which includes the assumption of $125 million of debt.

The Hockey Company in Montreal has a long-term licensing agreement with the National Hockey League, under which it serves as the supplier of authentic “on-ice” game jerseys to all 30 NHL teams. It also has the exclusive worldwide rights to manufacture and market authentic, replica and practice jerseys using the names and logos of the NHL and its teams.

The Hockey Company also has exclusive agreements with the Canadian Hockey League, the American Hockey League and the ECHL. In addition, its products are currently distributed in approximately 45 countries through diverse retail channels, including specialty shops and sporting goods retailers.

“Our acquisition of The Hockey Company and its portfolio of three of the world’s most respected hockey brand names, such as CCM, JOFA and KOHO, represents a tremendous opportunity for Reebok to further strengthen its position as a powerful global sports performance brand,” Paul Fireman, chairman and CEO of Reebok International, said in a statement. “The Hockey Company’s leading market position with elite athletes will enable Reebok to expand its reach to young athletes. Hockey is currently one of the world’s fastest growing participatory sports, and there has been a dramatic increase in female participation.”

Omnicom-backed Arnell Group in New York is the client’s lead ad agency and has produced efforts tagged “Outperform.”

Reebok spends more than $100 million-plus annually on worldwide advertising, about half of that in the U.S.