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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 July, 2003, 05:34 GMT 06:34 UK
Nike expands trainer empire
Converse All Star
Retro styling is set to return
The sportswear maker Nike has agreed to buy the trainer maker Converse.

The acquisition would give Nike access to Converse's retro style brands, such as its Chuck Taylor All Star trainers.

This, combined with Nike's marketing machine, should help push both brands further, analysts predicted.

"Retro styling has come back so strong, a lot stronger than I would have expected," said Robert Toomey, an analyst for RBC Dain Rauscher.

"Converse is one of the strongest footwear brands in the world with great heritage and a long history of success," said Tom Clarke, Nike's president of new business ventures.


But that was not always so.

In 2001, Converse, which had invented the basketball shoe in the 1920s, filed for bankruptcy before being taken over by private investors who have since tried to rebuild the brand.

At the time, the brand was struggling, having long since been pushed out of the top league by Nike and others.

Its rubber-toed basketball shoes have enjoyed periods of popularity as a fashion icon, however.

And in recent years, Converse has been making modern basketball shoes which have been well received by players.


Nike has agreed to pay $305m (187m) for Converse.

In addition, Nike will take on some of Converse's liabilities.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

Nike is huge when compared with Converse.

Last year, Nike's sales reached $10.7bn while Converse's sales stood at 205m.

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