Market in Hands of Ex

and Canadian operations in the hands of Rob Strasser, a former marketing whiz for Nike, the industry giant.

As part of the move, Adidas will purchase Strasser's Portland, Ore., consulting firm and name him chief executive of Adidas America, according to sources familiar with the transaction.

Strasser left Nike in 1987 after a bitter parting with its chairman, Phil Knight. Strasser, a lawyer by training who is striking because of his 300 pound size and charismatic personality, brings Adidas much needed credibility with large athletic specialty chains, said John Horan, publisher of the newsletter Sporting Goods Intelligence.

"The potential is not to knock off Reebok or Nike but to become a very strong alternative," he said.

Neither Strasser nor Adidas would comment on the deal, pending an announcement today at a sporting goods trade show in Atlanta. One source said Strasser would receive "a small minority interest" in Adidas' North American subsidiary.

Adidas America's headquarters would move to Portland. market position is far greater. and world leader. Adidas shoes, with their distinctive three stripe trademark, were the choice of the top Olympic runners, World Cup soccer players and, significantly, National Basketball Assn. stars.

Then along came Nike, with its high tech designs, full throttle advertising and endorsement by NBA supernova Michael Jordan. Reebok followed Nike with a phenomenal growth spurt of its own, based largely on its innovative line of women's aerobic shoes. market. Adidas has less than 4%, though it remains dominant worldwide in soccer shoes and equipment.

"The problems I saw with them were Adidas Yeezy Boost 750 not so much manufacturing or name Adidas Yeezy Boost 750 recognition," said basketball marketing expert John (Sonny) Vaccaro, who has worked with both Nike and Adidas. operations under a three year contract that expired Dec. 31. During its tenure, it hired Strasser's consulting firm to help develop and market a successful apparel and shoe line called Adidas Equipment.

Meanwhile, the ownership of the parent company is in flux. The controlling stake in Adidas, held by businessman Bernard Tapie, France's urban affairs minister, is up for sale.

Robert Louis Dreyfus, departing chief executive of the British advertising firm of Saatchi Saatchi, is a possible buyer, Reuters said.

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