Kering hands over control of Puma

Kering hands over control of Puma

German sportswear company Puma AG Rudolf Dassler Sport (OTC: PMMAF) may no longer be weighed down by its French parent company Kering S A/ADR (OTC: PPRUY).

France-based Kering, which owns Gucci, is planning to spin off Puma its sports brand in Germany to the conglomerate's shareholders in order to put more focus squarely on just its luxury brand.

"We are very pleased that Kering has proposed this way to reduce its stake in PUMA". The group's ambition is to continue to grow and develop its couture, leather goods, jewellery and watch businesses. "We would be able to carry on to invest in becoming the fastest sports brand in the world, create value for retailers, improve performance for athletes and excite consumers".

"The contemplated distribution of Puma shares to our shareholders would be a significant milestone in the history of the group", says CEO François-Henri Pinault.

Kering emerged as one of the big winners in a luxury goods revival a year ago as Chinese demand picked up, with a stellar turn at brand-of-the-moment Gucci helping earnings and other labels such as Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga.

Kering's CFO Jean-Marc Duplaix said that company found itself out of balance due to the outperformance in the luxury sector, adding that the group was also looking at its options to shed Volcom its other sportswear label.

Industry expert Matt Powell recently told Benzinga of Puma: "We are in a non-performance market; when performance was in fashion, Puma really struggled".

Kering will retain the 16% of shares outstanding, while Artémis, which holds 40.9% of Kering's shares, will become a long-term strategic shareholder in Puma with an ownership of around 29%. We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivalled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth, led by its talented and passionate management team.

Puma's shares will not be publicly traded, but spread across several of Kering's investors.

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