After months of speculation about the future of Umbro, Nike have announced the sale of the Cheadle based brand to the Iconix Brand Group for an estimated £140 million.
Nike first announced its plans to sell Umbro this May in order to shift the company’s focus. Since then, Nike have signed many of Umbro’s past players, and have also taken over Umbro’s biggest kit sponsorships in the form of Manchester City and the English national team. Speaking about the sale, Mark Park, Nike’s CEO said “Umbro has a great heritage, but ultimately, as our category strategy has evolved, we believe Nike Football can serve the needs of footballers both on and off the pitch.”
Umbro will now be owned by the Iconix Brand Group, the owner of many fashion brands such as Ed Hardy and Mudd. How a fashion group manages a famous sports brand is yet to be seen, but Umbro fans will most certainly be hoping that this move doesn’t pull the brand back into a period of mediocrity, like the one it endured before it was bought by Nike in 2008. Neil Cole, the owner of the Iconix Brand Group said in a statement “Umbro is a true, authentic football brand with a global loyal consumer fan base and we are thrilled to be adding it to our portfolio of iconic brands.”
The deal is expected to be completed by the end of 2012, so we still may be seeing some high profile athletes, like Joe Hart, leave Umbro in the near future. The move away from Nike may also result in many of the people that work behind the scenes jumping ship, meaning that the quality of product that Umbro release may be affected. We have seen prototypes for the 2013 Umbro Geometra Pro floating around the web, meaning that Umbro will continue to produce its control boot that is extremely similar to the Nike CTR360 Maestri, but we have yet to hear about Umbro’s other boots.
Very much an interesting situation, and we’ll be eagerly awaiting any other news we hear, specifically about how Umbro’s products will be affected by this move. In the meantime, do you think Umbro has a bright future ahead? Leave your comments in the section below!