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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 April 2007, 09:34 GMT 10:34 UK
Gucci-firm PPR buys stake in Puma
Puma football boots
Puma's logo is one of sport's best-known images
French retailer and owner of the Gucci brand PPR has bought a 27% stake in German sporting goods company Puma, clearing the way for a full takeover.

The deal, which had boosted Puma's shares at the end of last week, values Puma at 5.3bn euros ($7.1bn; 3.6bn).

PPR said that it would launch a "friendly" takeover for Puma, worth 330 euros a share, once the acquisition of the smaller stake was completed.

Puma welcomed the move, saying it was fair and in the firm's best interests.

Sprinting ahead

A number of sporting companies have been linking up with more fashion focused companies. The aim is to produce sporting goods that appeal to hip fashionistas as well as athletes.

UK designer Alexander McQueen has already produced a limited edition pair of trainers for Puma, while Stella McCartney has brought out clothes for rival Adidas.

Puma is one of the world's biggest sporting goods firms, behind Nike and Adidas.

The Herzogenaurach-based firm's sales have increased five-fold in the past six years, and it now has annual sales of 2.4bn euros.

It also employs a workforce of 7,800 worldwide.

Puma's shares climbed more than 8% in Frankfurt on the news on Monday, extending Friday's 10% surge.

PPR bought the stake from German investment firm Mayfair Beteiligungsfondsgesellschaft.

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