Reebok would become the first major black-owned athletic footwear and apparel brand if the African American rap music mogul Percy Rebert Miller, also known as Master P, and a former two-time NBA All-Star, Baron Davis, succeed in their reported bid. According to reports in the ESPN sports network and Forbes, they have offered to pay around $2.4 billion to buy Reebok from the Adidas Group, after a couple of months of negotiations. That would be significantly more than the indicative valuation of between $1 billion and $2 billion recently placed on the brand, but lower than the $3.8 billion that the Big a originally claimed in 2005.
Unless they are acting as white knights to jack up the purchase price, they would outbid other potential buyers such as Anta Sports Products and VF Corp. Forbes quotes Master P as saying: “As we focus on turning Reebok into a lifestyle brand, not just a basketball brand, our most important initiative will be to put money back into the community that built this company.” That sounds like Reebok’s focus would shift away from fitness. Another plan would be to turn Allen Iverson, the sports celebrity who signed a lifetime deal Reebok in 2001, into an iconic brand like Michael Jordan for Nike.
Miller and Davis, who are respectively 53 and 41 years old, are both serial entrepreneurs with investments in multiple sectors, and they may be accompanied by other investors. Miller’s net worth is estimated at only $200 million. Davis was sponsored by Nike and then by Reebok. Without excluding the possibility of keeping Reebok under its umbrella, Adidas has pledged to address the topic of the brand’s future ownership at an investor and media event scheduled for March 10.