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Volume 24 No. 112

Finance

          Advantage Int'l announced that UK-based sports
     marketing group Orbit Int'l, which is part of the Lowe
     Group, will merge with Advantage UK in October '97.  Orbit
     Chair Ian Wight, who will join the Board of Advantage UK:
     "Fortunately there are no client conflicts in the UK." 
     Orbit's clients include British Airways (Advantage).

          Spalding Sports Worldwide, backed by its parent,
     Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., "is interested in buying all
     of" Ben Hogan Co., including its golf-ball manufacturing
     plant in OH, according to Lynn Henning of GOLFWEEK.  But
     Henning writes that a "bidding war has emerged," as CA-based
     Taylor Made Golf Co., "which plans to enter the golf-ball
     market soon, is interested in buying only the [OH]
     operations as a manufacturing facility for its new line of
     golf balls;" and FL-based Edwin Watts Golf Shops, the off-
     course retail chain, "wants only the club-manufacturing end
     of Hogan as a means for adding a premier name to its in-
     house golf club sales."  Hogan Co. is owned by VA-based
     businessman Bill Goodwin, who bought the company five years
     ago for $61M, but a "stark indicator of how far Hogan has
     fallen is its likely" '97 selling price, "which may not
     significantly surpass" $20M (GOLFWEEK, 9/20 issue). 

          The athletic shoe industry was examined by Charlie
     Pellett of "Bloomberg Business News."  Pellett reported that
     with "over" 43% of the U.S. sneaker market, "at this time it
     is unlikely that any one company will gain enough momentum
     to catch Nike."  Shelby Cullom Davis' Peter Russ: "They have
     a lead that seems sustainable.  They continue to redefine
     what the market is, and how their product should be viewed
     by the consumer.  And as long they continue to redefine it
     in ways that their competition haven't done, they can
     maintain their lead."  Pellett: "It's possible adidas is the
     only sneaker maker running with the ball ... Some analysts
     feel adidas is now poised to grow in the all-important
     American market."  As teenagers "seem less interested" in
     white sneakers, Pellett added that producers of brown shoes,
     such as Wolverine World Wide and Timberland "may score a
     touchdown in the last quarter of '97. ... If these and other
     adverse trends continue, it's unlikely even a slam dunk from
     Michael Jordan will save the industry" ("BBN," PBS, 9/22).