Turkish footwear retailer FLO Magazacilik is in talks to buy more than 100 stores of fitness brand Reebok in Russia, FLO President Mehmet Ziylan said Monday, as Western companies rush to comply with sanctions over the Ukraine conflict.
Ziylan noted that a deal had not been finalized, denying a report in Russian newspaper Kommersant that claimed the company had already clinched the deal.
«We are talking, but there is nothing more definite,» Ziylan told Reuters.
Kommersant quoted a source close to FLO Retailing as saying that the deal had closed and that more than 100 Reebok outlets in Russia had passed to the Turkish company’s control.
Authentic Brands Group, which owns Reebok, was unavailable for comment due to early U.S. trading.
In March, the U.S. company suspended all of the brand’s stores and e-commerce operations in Russia.
Kommersant quoted analysts as saying that 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 mentioned that FLO currently does wholesale in Russia, but does not have its own stores there.
The deal is likely to raise concerns that Russian companies and those from countries not involved in Western sanctions will get their hands on valuable assets, as Western companies rush to comply with sanctions over the Ukraine conflict, while threats emerge from the Kremlin that foreign-owned assets may be confiscated.
Last month, Anheuser-Busch InBev said it plans to exit Russia by selling its stake in a joint venture with Turkish brewer Anadolu Efes that operates in Russia and Ukraine, and expects to receive $1.1 billion as a result.
Asked about investing in Russia when many international brands have left the country following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ziylan commented that the company will follow the Turkish government’s policy in this regard.
«Our country does not have an embargo there. We will continue as long as our country does not tell us to stop,» he assured.
Turkey, a NATO member and Black Sea neighbor of Russia and Ukraine, maintains good ties with the warring nations and has opposed Western sanctions on Moscow.
Ziylan declined to say the size of a possible deal.