Nike Inc. said Wednesday it has acquired the parent company of the Starter athletic-gear brands for about $43 million.
The Beaverton-based sneaker giant acquired 100 percent of the equity shares of Official Starter Properties LLC and Official Starter LLC.
The entities are the owners and licensers of the Starter, Team Starter and Asphalt brand names as well as master licensee of the Shaq and Dunkman brands, a line of athletic apparel, footwear and accessory products.
The business will be operated by Exeter Brands Group LLC, a newly created operating unit of Nike.
Effective immediately, Mary Gleason, former president and chief executive of Group 3 Design, the brand management company that has managed the Starter brand since 1999, will become president of the New York-based Exeter Brands Group.
Gleason will report directly to Scott Olivet, vice president of Nike Inc. Subsidiaries, who also oversees Converse, Hurley, Cole Haan and Bauer Nike Hockey.
“The acquisition of Starter is the next step in the evolution of Nike Inc.'s multi-brand portfolio growth strategy and will allow us to capitalize on an important value channel opportunity,” said Tom Clarke, Nike's president of New Business Ventures, in a prepared statement. Value channel refers to discount and moderately priced retail chains.
The Starter brand was founded in 1971 and over the next decade pioneered the league-licensed apparel business through agreements with Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and the National Football League.
Official Starter Properties LLC and Official Starter LLC acquired the assets of the bankrupt Starter Corp. in 1999.
Shares of Nike closed at $70.32, down 54 cents, or 0.8 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange.