Fila, Inc. has returned to prominence with the updated rerelease of the Disruptor II, a bulky sneaker that first debuted in 1996. With the rerelease, Fila has successfully capitalized on two current fashion trends, retro apparel and the stereotypical “dad shoe”; particularly popular amongst women. The Disruptor II’s affordable price point ($65-$70) and widespread availability (think: Urban Outfitters, Journeys) has also contributed to its success. Foot Locker CEO Dick Johnson labeled the Disruptor II one of his chain’s most popular styles.
Howie Long-Short: Fila U.S. (KRX: 081660) sales rose +21% during Q2 ‘18, with the Disruptor II heavily contributing to the record earnings period. The company’s “conversion from wholesale to retail” and a revised sales strategy (see: targeting younger demo) has also been effective. Fila grew sales +10.9% (to $687 million) and operating profit rose +24.1% (to $90.6 million) during the most recent quarter.
Fila, Inc. owns 53% of Acushnet (GOLF), the maker of Titleist golf equipment. For those who missed Monday’s piece on rising golf equipment sales, GOLF grew Q2 sales +11.7% YoY (on a consolidated basis); Titleist clubs (718 Irons, Vokey SM7 Wedges) and Titleist golf ball sales were credited for driving the top line growth. GOLF shares are up +60% over the last 12 months; they’ll open at $27.51 on Wednesday.
Interestingly, Anta Sports (ANPDY) owns the rights to use the Fila brand in China (Fila controls 15% of the JV). Anta, China’s largest sportswear maker, reported H1 revenue increased +44% (to $1.5 billion); strong sales of the Fila brand contributed to the growth.
Fan Marino: For those old enough to remember the 90s, Fila was a major player in the footwear and apparel space; in 1997, the company generated $687 in U.S. sales. Grant Hill even signed an $80 million endorsement deal to serve as the brand. Remember these?
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MLB has partnered with Tencent (TCEHY) to grow the sport of baseball in China. As the Official Digital Broadcasting Partner of MLB within the country, TCEHY will live stream 125 games (including the All-Star Game and every game of the Postseason/World Series) exclusively on Tencent PC, Mobile and OTT platforms. The technology giant has also committed to broadcasting a series of MLB highlight shows and supporting/broadcasting youth baseball and developmental events. Super Baseball Week (April 4-8) will kick off the new partnership; 5 straight days of games featuring the league’s biggest stars (see: Trout, Judge, Bryant).
Howie Long-Short: Tencent Holdings Limited (TCEHY), one of 50 constituent stocks making up the Hang Seng Index (largest companies on HKSE, represent +/- 58% of HKSE cap), is a leading provider of comprehensive internet services in China. The company’s social messaging app WeChat has more than 1 billion users. TCEHY was recently named China’s most valuable brand for a 4th straight year, with WPP and Kantar Millward Brown assessing its brand value (how a brand powers business) at $132.2 billion (+25% YoY). Just how big of a global player is Tencent? The company’s market cap is $496 billion, $30 billion more than Facebook (FB).
Fun Fact: Just one sports related brand made the Top 100 most valuable Chinese brand of 2018 rankings, Anta Sportswear (ANPDY) at #78.
Fan Marino: MLB opened an office in China in 2007 and has maintained 3 Development Centers within the country (Wuxi, Changzhou and Nanjing) since. The fruits of those labors have started to pay off. 3 players have graduated and gone on to sign MLB contracts (“Itchy” Guiyan – O’s, Hai-Cheng Gong – Pirates and Justin Qiangba – Red Sox) and another 12 are currently playing professionally in China. The success can’t just be measured by players on the pro level, though. Since 2014, 36 players have graduated from the program and gone on to play collegiate baseball.
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