FLO in Turkey in talks to take over Reebok stores in Russia

Turkish shoe retailer FLO Magazacilik is in talks to buy more than 100 stores owned by fitness brand Reebok in Russia, FLO Chairman Mehmet Ziylan said on Monday, as Western companies rush to comply with related sanctions to the Ukrainian conflict.

Ziylan said a deal had not been finalized, denying a report from the Russian daily Kommersant that the company had already taken over the business.

“We are talking, but there is nothing more specific,” Ziylan told Reuters.

Kommersant quoted a source close to FLO Retailing as saying the deal had been finalized and more than 100 Reebok outlets in Russia had come under the control of the Turkish company.

Authentic Brands Group, owner of Reebok, was not immediately available for comment due to the early morning time in the United States.

In March, the American company suspended all branded stores and e-commerce operations in Russia.

Kommersant Quoted analysts said the deal, which would give FLO its first stores in the country, could be worth up to 1.5 billion rubles ($24.8 million).

Ziylan said FLO currently wholesales to Russia, but does not have its own stores there.

The deal is likely to raise concerns that companies in Russia and countries not implicated in Western sanctions will seize valuable assets as Western companies rush to comply with sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, as well as threats from the Kremlin that foreign-owned assets could be seized.

Last month, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced plans to exit Russia by selling its stake in a joint venture with Turkish brewer Anadolu Efes which operates in Russia and Ukraine and plans to take a $1.1 billion charge. dollars accordingly.

Asked about investing in Russia as many international brands left the country after Russia invaded Ukraine, Ziylan said the company would follow the Turkish government’s policy on the matter.

“Our country does not have an embargo there. We will continue until our country tells us to stop,” he said.

NATO member Turkey, a Black Sea neighbor of Russia and Ukraine, enjoys good relations with warring nations and has opposed Western sanctions against Moscow.

Ziylan declined to say the size of a possible deal.

By Daren Butler; Editors: Josephine Mason and David Evans

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