Source AP ©

Puma makes no comments on PPR working toward takeover bid

Sporting goods maker Puma AG refused to comment Friday on a report that French luxury goods group PPR SA is in talks with a major shareholder of the German firm to buy its stake, with a view to a possible takeover bid.

The Wall Street Journal reported that two members of the Herz family, who control more than a quarter of Puma's stock, were near a deal to agree to sell their stake to PPR. Citing unidentified people close to the matter, it said PPR wanted to buy the stake and then make an offer for the remainder of Puma.

According to the report, PPR is discussing paying a premium to Herzogenaurach, Germany-based Puma's closing price on Thursday, valuing the company at more than EUR5.4 billion (US$7.2 billion).

Puma shares had surged Thursday on talk of a bid, closing up nearly 10.3 percent in Frankfurt at EUR314.25 (US$420.67). Markets were closed in Germany on Friday for the Easter holiday.

Puma refused to comment on the report.

"We don't comment on market rumors," said the company's head of corporate communications, Ulf Santjer.

Calls to PPR in Paris and to the Hamburg office of Mayfair - the holding company through which Guenter and Daniele Herz control 25.1 percent of Puma - went unanswered on what is a national holiday in both countries.

Puma is the world's third-largest sporting goods company after Nike Inc. of the U.S. and crosstown rival Adidas AG

PPR owns the luxury goods company Gucci Group and other holdings including the Fnac music chain and Conforama furniture chain.