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adidas is a German sports apparel manufacturer, part of the Adidas-Salomon corporation. Adidas was named after its founder, Adolf (Adi) Dassler, who started producing shoes in the 1920s in Herzogenaurach near Nuremberg. It registered as adidas AG on 18 August 1949. The company's clothing and shoe designs typically include three parallel stripes of the same color, and the same motif is incorporated into adidas' official logos.

Rudolf Dassler, Adi's brother, founded a rival company, PUMA.


The chief competitors of adidas are PUMA and Nike.

In August 2005, the company announced that it had made a deal to acquire rival Reebok for $3.8 billion. The acquisition would increase its market share in North America and allow it to further compete with Nike. This will propel Adidas to the number two spot in terms of foot apparel market behind Nike.


In the 1980s, Adidas sneakers became popular amongst teenagers and young men. The Adidas sneaker was popularized by the Run DMC song "My Adidas" and became a huge fashion trend.

The Tapie affair

The history of the company as presented by its official web site is incomplete, perhaps because it is indirectly linked to financial scandals.

After a period of serious trouble following the death of Adolf Dassler's son Horst Dassler in 1987, the company was bought in 1990 by Bernard Tapie, for 1.6 billion French francs  ($320 million), which Tapie borrowed. Tapie was at the time a famous specialist of rescuing bankrupt companies, a business on which he built his fortune.

Tapie decided to move production offshore to Asia. He also hired Madonna for promotion.

In 1992, Tapie was unable to pay the interest from his loan. He mandated the Credit Lyonnais bank to sell adidas, and the bank subsequently converted the outstanding debt owed into equity of the enterprise, which was unusual for then-current French banking practice. Apparently, the state-owned bank had tried to get Tapie out of dire financial straits as a personal favour to Tapie, reportedly because Tapie was a minister of Urban Affairs (ministre de la Ville) in the French government at the time.

In February 1993, Credit Lyonnais sold adidas to Robert Louis-Dreyfus, a friend of Bernard Tapie (and cousin of Julia Louis-Dreyfus from the Seinfeld TV series), for a much higher amount of money than what Tapie owed, 4.485 billion francs rather than 2.85 billion. Forgetting why the bank actually bought adidas, Tapie later sued the bank, because he felt spoiled by the indirect sale.

Robert Louis-Dreyfus became the new CEO of the company. He is also the president of the Olympique de Marseille football team, to which Tapie is closely linked.

Tapie went bankrupt himself in 1994. He was the object of several lawsuits, notably related to match fixing at the football club. He spent 6 months in La Sant prison in Paris in 1997 after being sentenced to 18.

In 2005, French courts awarded Tapie a 135 million euro compensation (about 886 million francs).

Post-Tapie era

In 1997, adidas AG acquired the Salomon Group, and its corporate name was changed to adidas-Salomon AG.

In 1998, adidas sued the NCAA over their rules limiting the size and number of commercial logos on team uniforms and apparel. adidas withdrew the suit, and the two groups established guidelines as to what three-stripe designs would be considered uses of the adidas trademark.

In 2003, adidas filed a lawsuit in British court challenging Fitness World Trading's use of a two-stripe motif similar to adidas' three stripes. The court ruled that despite the simplicity of the mark, Fitness World's use was infringing because the public could establish a link between that use and adidas' mark.

In 2005, adidas introduced the adidas 1, the first ever production shoe to utilize a microprocessor. Dubbed by the company "The World's First Intelligent Shoe" it features a microprocessor capable of performing 5 million calculations per second that automatically adjusts the shoe's level of cushioning to suit its environment. The shoe requires a small, user replaceable battery that lasts for approximately 100 hours of running. It currently retails for $250 (USD).

Also in 2005, on May 2, adidas told the public that they sold their partner company Salomon Group for 485 mn Euros to Amer Sports of Finland.

In August 2005, adidas declared its intention to buy Anglo-American rival Reebok for US$ 3.8 billion. This takeover was completed in August 2005 and meant that the company will now have closer business sales as those of Nike in Northern America. The acquisition of Reebok will also allow Adidas to compete with Nike worldwide.

World Cup 1954

When West Germany miraculously won the soccer 1954 World Cup, their footwear was supplied by adidas. These shoes introduced a technological breakthrough: studs with screws. When the weather was good and the pitch was hard, the shoes were equipped with short studs; when it rained, longer studs were screwed on the bottom of the shoes. As the final game against the highly-favoured team from Hungary was played in heavy rain, this gave the German players a firmer hold on the slippery pitch.

This anecdote was a plot device used in the successful German film, Das Wunder von Bern, which was a movie version of the 1954 World Cup.

Former management

  • CEO (1993-2001): Robert Louis-Dreyfus. He has been highly successful with managing the company until 2001. His self-admitted secret was simply copying what Nike and Reebok did.


"Adidas" is simply a combination of the founder's nickname (Adi) and the first three letters of his last name (Dassler). This dispels the rumor that the letters are an acronym for "All day I dream about sports."

adidas women's fashion brands

adidas men's fashion 

The above article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 1/23/06

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