Nike Inc. plans to sell Cole Haan, the Scarborough-based maker of high-end footwear and bags it purchased in 1988. The divestiture process will begin immediately but is not expected to be completed until June 2013, according to a Nike press release.
Nike also plans to sell its wholly-owned affiliate Umbro, which designs soccer gear and apparel. "Divesting of Umbro and Cole Haan will allow us to focus our resources on the highest-potential opportunities for Nike Inc. to continue to drive sustainable, profitable growth for our shareholders," said Mark Parker, Nike's president and CEO, in Thursday's release.
The Wall Street Journal reported that potential buyers for Cole Haan could include Wolverine World Wide Inc., which recently agreed to buy Collective Brands Inc. for a reported $1.32 billion, and VF Corp., which last year spent almost $2 billion to buy Timberland Co. Nike declined to comment on that speculation, WSJ reported.
The Cole Haan label was founded in 1928 in Chicago, and in 1975 was acquired by George Denney, a former leather-cutter at a Maine factory, according to the company's website. It opened its first retail store in Freeport in 1982, and was acquired by Nike in 1988. It has an estimated $518 million in annual sales.
Last summer, the company moved from Yarmouth to 38,000 square feet of office space at the Roundwood Business Park in Scarborough. It's unclear how many people it employs in Maine.
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