Nike sells Cole Haan brand to Apax Partners

The company logo of Nike is shown at the U.S. Olympic athletics trials in Eugene, Oregon June 21, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) - Nike Inc NKE.N is selling its Cole Haan handbag and shoe brand to private equity firm Apax Partners for $570 million, nearly 24 years after buying it, the company said on Friday.

Nike, which is focusing on its namesake brand and Jordan, Converse and Hurley, planned selling its Umbro and Cole Haan brands. Umbro was sold for $225 million last month to Iconix Brand Group Inc ICON.O.

“The decision to divest of Cole Haan allows us to sharpen our focus on opportunities with the highest potential for strong returns, and to make sure the brands within the Nike portfolio are the most complementary to the Nike Brand,” Chief Executive Mark Parker said in a statement.

Earlier in November, three people familiar with discussions between Nike and London-based Apax, said the top athletic clothes and shoes maker was in final negotiations to sell Cole Haan. They said Apax had prevailed over other private equity firms including TPG Capital Management TPG.UL and Berkshire Partners in the auction for Cole Haan.

Apax is active in acquiring retail companies. Last year, the firm bought German discount clothing retailer Takko for roughly $1.7 billion. It also owns British-based retailer New Look Group and skiwear company Spyder Active Sports. Apax previously owned Tommy Hilfiger. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Chicago; Editing by Grant McCool)