Tencent in Talks to Join Group Bidding for Amer Sports
(Bloomberg) -- Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. is in talks to join a Chinese investor group pursuing a takeover of Finland’s Amer Sports Oyj, people familiar with the matter said.
Tencent, China’s largest social-media company, is considering joining the consortium led by Anta Sports Products Ltd. as a minority investor, according to the people. The buyer group is also in talks with other potential minority partners, though no firm agreements have been reached, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
Shares of Amer rose 3.6 percent to 35 euros at 10:23 a.m. Wednesday in Helsinki, on track for the highest close in more than six weeks, after earlier jumping as much as 5.8 percent.
Anta said in September it had joined with Chinese buyout firm FountainVest Partners to make an indicative offer of 40 euros per share for Amer, valuing the target at about 4.7 billion euros ($5.3 billion). The consortium has been progressing in the potential takeover and seeking at least 3.5 billion euros in loans, Bloomberg News reported last month.
Roping in Tencent could help the investor group boost Amer’s brands in one of the world’s biggest online shopping markets. Chinese internet companies have been partnering with physical retailers, with Tencent agreeing last year to invest in a supermarket chain and rival Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. acquiring a local department store operator.
The Chinese suitors aim to reach an acquisition agreement as soon as the next several weeks, according to the people. Any deal could still face delays or fall apart, the people said. A spokeswoman for Tencent and an external representative for the Chinese buyer consortium declined to comment.
Anta, which has a market value of about $11.6 billion, has been working to grow its business overseas amid a Chinese government push to expand in sports ranging from soccer to skiing. Amer’s portfolio of well-known sports brands, including Salomon ski equipment, could be an attractive prospect for Anta ahead of the upcoming Olympic Games in Asia.
Beijing will host the Winter Olympics in 2022, providing a springboard for sales of skis and snowboards, while the 2020 Summer Games will be held in Tokyo. Amer’s other brands include Wilson tennis rackets, Louisville Slugger baseball bats and Arc’teryx outdoor gear.
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