In an important step toward the completion of the planned change of ownership, Amer Sports announced on Feb. 22 that Anta Sports Products had finally received the approval from its shareholders at an extraordinary meeting for the tender offer that began on Dec. 20 for all the shares of the Finnish-based group. Anta, which is the largest sporting goods company in China, is the leading investor in a Finnish-based consortium, Mascot Bidco, that is conducting the bidding process.
This came one day after Amer reported that Mascot Bidco was extending the period under its cash tender offer until March 7, leaving the possibility open for a further extension. Evidently, it felt then that it would be unable to gain control of more than 90 percent of Amer's shares before the previously set deadline of Feb. 28. The 90 percent threshold is a condition for the deal to go through. The offer price has remained at €40 per share. The tender offer has already been approved by the European Commission and by other relevant authorities in Turkey and Mexico.
Anta's share price climbed beyond the level of 43 Hong Kong dollars after the extraordinary shareholders' meeting. It went further up to around HK$ 46 after the company reported excellent financial results for the past year, giving it a market capitalization equivalent to more than €13 billion – more than sufficient to guarantee the €4.6 billion takeover of Amer in cooperation with other investors. Amer Sports' share price has also been rising steadily over the last few weeks, closing above €39 today.
Anta accelerated its expansion in 2018 with a sales increase of 44.4 percent to 24.1 billion yuan renminbi (€3.2bn-$3.6bn), which led to an unprecedented profit for the Chinese group. The company's gross margin firmed up by 3.2 percentage points to 52.6 percent, while the operating margin inched down by 0.2 percentage points to 23.7 percent, due to higher selling and distribution expenses. Anta ended up with profit attributable to shareholders of RMB 4.1 billion (€538.8m-$613.8m), an increase of 32.9 percent.
The management said the company is building on its multi-brand and omni-channel strategy, focusing on being “customer-centric.” It said this model has enabled Anta's brands to spread across the entire market spectrum from the mass end to the high-end, with products for professional sports and popular sports, high-end athleisure to urban strolls, as well as for outdoor and children's wear. By collecting and analyzing data online and in store, Anta said it is able to gain valuable insights into consumer behavior, which helps it to improve and upgrade the efficiency of the store management and the top management process, as well as to support the customer experience.
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