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Report: A K-Swiss Sale Could Be in the Works

Tennis shoe brand K-Swiss may be changing hands later this month.

After six years of ownership, South Korean retail firm E-Land World is preparing to sell the company to Chinese sportswear firm XTep, according to the Korea Herald.

Industry sources revealed details of a stock purchase agreement worth about 300 million won ($262 million), the Herald reported. A spokesperson for E-Land World would not confirm the sale, but admitted the company had been in talks with a multitude of potential buyers since the beginning of 2019.

K-Swiss, which was founded by brothers Art and Ernie Brunner in Los Angeles in 1966, was sold to the Korean firm for $170 million in 2013. At the time, the Herald reported, the company was facing substantial losses after aggressively expanding its retail footprint. When E-Land purchased K Swiss, the company underwent massive corporate restructuring and store closures.

In recent years, K-Swiss has attempted to drum up business by engaging in aggressive and unorthodox marketing campaigns, like its recent partnership with entrepreneur and internet personality Gary Vaynerchuk. The brand hoped to create a business savvy cult following, and to become the unofficial shoe of entrepreneurs. K-Swiss has also hoped to capitalize on the nostalgic resurgence of ’90s styles, especially popular with Gen Z consumers.

XTep, the purported Chinese buyer, was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in March of 2008. The firm owns 6,230 stores throughout China, and reported sales of 6.38 billion yuan ($950 million) last year, according to the Herald.