| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Nov 5 Nike Inc is in final
negotiations to sell its Cole Haan handbag and shoe brand to
private equity firm Apax Partners, in a deal that could fetch
around $500 million, according to three people familiar with the
Apax has prevailed over other private equity firms including
TPG Capital Management and Berkshire Partners in the
auction for Cole Haan, which sells footwear, clothing and
leather handbags, the people said on Monday.
London-based Apax has teamed up with former Converse Chief
Executive Jack Boys to help run Cole Haan after a takeover, two
of the people said.
The sale would come roughly 24 years after Nike acquired
Cole Haan for $80 million, as the world's biggest athletic shoe
and clothing maker seeks to focus on its namesake brand, as well
as Jordan, Converse and Hurley.
Founded by Trafton Cole and Eddie Haan in 1928, the fashion
label operates flagship stores in major U.S. cities and also
sells its products at department stores and other retailers.
Nike said in May it was looking to sell Cole Haan and soccer
gear unit Umbro and announced a $225 million deal last month to
sell Umbro to Iconix Brand Group Inc.
Nike hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc to assist with the
auction, sources previously told Reuters.
The people asked not to be identified because details of the
auction are not public. Representatives for Nike and Berkshire
Partners did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Apax and TPG declined to comment.
Cole Haan is among several footwear companies that have gone
on the auction block over the past year.
In May, footwear retailer Collective Brands Inc was
purchased by a consortium including Wolverine Worldwide Inc
, Blum Capital Partners and Golden Gate Capital for about
Family-owned footwear brand Doc Martens also explored a sale
of the company, although the discussions ended earlier this