Thursday, November 08, 2007

Just Do It! (before someone else does)

Perhaps it’s those magic childhood memories of pulling on the shoulder pads, shin pads and skates before heading out for a 5 am skate at the local rink.

Or maybe it’s just the realization that Canadian parents are still willing to take out a second mortgage to put their kids on the ice.

But for whatever the reason two of the highest profile players to ever play in the NHL have put together separate bids to purchase the assets of Nike/Bauer, the skate and equipment maker that recently announced that they wanted out of the hockey business.

Nike paid 395 million dollars for the assets of Bauer and Cooper twelve years ago, a move that shocked Canadians who suddenly found that their hockey heritage in the world of equipment was now American owned.

Having suffered more than a few losses in the department over the years, Nike wrote off a large portion of its investment back in 2002, after the desired profits from in line skates and hockey apparel failed to materialize.

The asking price for the hockey unit is said to be somewhere in the neighbourhood of 250 million dollars a far cry from those heady days of 1995 when Nike sought to conquer the hockey world.

While Gretzky and Lemieux ponder their positions, there are a number of other suitors poking and prodding the investment banker handling the sale.

Having a either of the hockey greats as the face of your investment group could do wonders for marketability of the brand, and it would be even better for the corporate image if you have both of them on board. There is some talk that the two may join together in one super bid to wrestle control of the equipment maker, using their high profiles in the US and Canada as a way to rebuild the brand.

Both Lemieux and Gretzky are well known in the world of investment in the USA, they have made the contacts, they are familiar faces and they offer up that intangible that every investor loves credibility for a product.

At 145 million less than the original Nike purchase price, it’s like shopping at a discount store for hockey goods for the two hockey icons. It could be one of the few investments that they could make, for which they could add a good degree of product knowledge without having to listen to a dozen or so marketing types.

All that remains to be seen is whether they both arrive at the check out stand at the same time, or if like many Canadians on a weekend jaunt to a Canadian Tire, they get sidetracked in different departments.

When that happens and the time for the shopping comes to an end, usually someone is disappointed that they have to leave before they find the bargain they were looking for.
For Canadian hockey fans and consumers it might be best if the two go shopping together with one list, and few diversions to sidetrack them along the way.

No comments: