Investors in the running for Adidas’s Reebok unit by John Kell @FortuneMagazine October 20, 2014, 8:58 AM EST E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons Adidas AG’s Reebok brand is reportedly generating a potential bid from a group of investors that argue the brand could have a brighter future if it were managed independently, rather than by the German athletic gear maker. The Reebok division could fetch about $2.2 billion, according to a Wall Street Journal report, which said a group of investors from Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi were interested in buying the brand. The Journal, which cited people close to the matter, said it wasn’t clear how receptive Adidas was to a potential bid. Adidas has owned Reebok since early 2006, after paying $3.8 billion for the shoemaker in a deal that consolidated two major brands in the sporting goods industry. But the marriage has been problematic. Reebok generated 2.47 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in fiscal 2006, a figure that tumbled to 1.6 billion euros in fiscal 2013. That decline comes as American-based rivals Nike NKE and Under Armour UA have reported sharply higher sales in North America and markets abroad, as consumer spend more on athletic gear for both functionality and fashion. A major reason Reebok has suffered lately is the brand in 2012 lost the rights to be the National Football League’s official uniform provider, a contract that Reebok had for a decade but is now run by Nike. That resulted in a huge dent to apparel sales in the U.S., and along with uncovered fraud at its Reebok Indian unit and other issues, led Adidas to book a $344 million write-off in 2013. Analysts have for a while now flagged Adidas’s issues, and some media reports have speculated that the company’s management is facing pressure. Sterne Agee analyst Sam Poser is among the observers that have claimed Adidas, including the Reebok brand, has lacked “innovative vigor” and has focused too much on soccer, leading to market share declines in the U.S. and worldwide. Poser pointed out that basketball and running are the two top categories that Adidas and Reebok have lost market share to Nike.