What’s new: Viva China Holdingsa Chinese sports talent agency founded by gymnast-entrepreneur Li Ning, has come close to taking over British shoe brand Clarks.
Hong Kong-listed Viva China, owner of Li’s eponymous sportswear brand, said Wednesday that shareholders had approved the proposed acquisition of Clarks. The deal will help Viva China further expand its global business presence, the company said.
At the end of May, Viva China announced that it would form a joint venture with Hong Kong-based private equity fund LionRock Capital, in which Viva China has a 51% stake. The company would acquire 51% of Clarks. The deal was pending approvals from Viva China’s shareholders and regulators.
Background: Viva China expressed interest in acquiring Clarks in August 2020 when the UK company approached LionRock Capital for a potential investment. Li is the non-executive chairman of LionRock.
In November 2020, LionRock paid £100 million ($121 million) for 51% of Clarks. In March 2021, Viva China announced that it had signed an agreement with LionRock to acquire part of Clarks’ stake for £51 million, pending shareholder approval.
Viva China has launched a series of acquisitions of international brands to expand its business portfolio, including Hong Kong clothing brand Bossini and Italy’s Amedeo Testoni.
Founded in 1825, England-based Clarks is one of Britain’s oldest shoe brands. But its business has slumped in recent years amid a broader downturn in the retail sector and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for quick news that you can use.
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