SBD/19/Finance

ADIDAS WHITTLES AWAY AT U.S. MARKETS; EYES WALL STREET

          adidas and company Chair Robert Louis-Dreyfus are
     profiled by John Tagliabue in the business section of the
     N.Y. TIMES, under the piece on Nike's decreasing third
     quarter earnings.  Tagliabue writes that Louis-Dreyfus "has
     turned things around" at adidas, pouring "large sums into
     creating a cooler image for Adidas with young people tired
     of Nike's in-your-face style."  Louis-Dreyfus: "We're going
     in the right direction."  But Nike GM Central Europe Stefano
     Caroti said that adidas "is building its recent success by
     using Nike's winning formulas."  Caroti: "They're copying
     us, from our ads to our products.  You put a swoosh at the
     end of their commercials, they're ours."  Louis-Dreyfus said
     adidas "is less centralized than Nike," and "less dependent
     on American superstars."  Louis-Dreyfus, on Nike's Phil
     Knight: "He's the Disney of sports, into the marketing of
     sports at the entertainment end.  We try to be more
     cosmopolitan" (John Tagliabue, N.Y. TIMES, 3/19).
          WHAT'S AHEAD: While adidas has "gained ground in more
     popular sports" in the U.S. by signing "big-name athletes,"
     Louis-Dreyfus said his "top priority" is to "accelerate
     growth in the [U.S.] by continuing to whittle away at the
     market shares of Reebok and Fila."  adidas also plans an IPO
     on Wall Street "as early as next year" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/19).

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