Adidas Slashes Dividend Amid Fallout From Kanye West Breakup


German sportswear giant Adidas unveiled plans to slash its dividend on Wednesday, reiterating warnings the company could face its first annual loss in decades following the costly decision to split with rapper and designer Kanye West and scrap their lucrative joint brand, Yeezy.

Key Facts

Adidas said it will propose an annual dividend of $0.74 (0.70 euros) per share at its annual general meeting on May 11.

The proposed payout is down from $3.48 (3.30 euros) per share in 2021, a cut of nearly 80%.

Adidas reported losses of $508 million (482 million euros) for the fourth quarter of 2022, largely reflecting falling sales in China and the company’s split with West, also known as Ye, which it said cost it $632 million (600 million euros) in sales.

Adidas reiterated warnings the company is on track for its first full-year loss in decades, projecting losses of more than $700 million.

The company said it stands to lose $527 million (500 million euros) in 2023 if it cannot sell or repurpose Yeezy shoes leftover from its partnership with West, which were estimated to bring in $1.26 billion (1.2 billion euros) in revenue this year.

CEO Bjørn Gulden said 2023 will be a “transition year” for Adidas to reinvigorate its core business and build a path to profitability in 2024.

News Peg

Yeezy was a significant and lucrative source of income for Adidas and its loss is being felt keenly. It has compounded existing strains on the firm’s finances, notably troubles in the Chinese market and exiting from Russia after it invaded Ukraine. Executives have been blunt about its likely impact for the year ahead and the mountain of unsold Yeezy stock looms large over the company’s balance sheet. In February, Gulden said Adidas’ “numbers speak for themselves,” adding: “we are currently not performing the way we should.”

Key Background

Adidas was one of many companies to sever ties with West in October amid public outrage over the rapper’s antisemitic comments on social media, in addition to him promoting baseless conspiracy theories and making racist remarks. His partnership with Adidas was one of his most commercially important and was the source of the majority of his net worth. West fell off Forbes’ billionaires’ list when it was terminated.

What To Watch For

Adidas shares were down nearly 2% during morning trading in Europe.

Further Reading

Adidas Shares Plummet As Losses Loom From Stockpile Of Unsold Yeezys Left After Kanye West Breakup (Forbes)

Billionaire No More: Kanye West’s Antisemitism Obliterates His Net Worth As Adidas Cuts Ties (Forbes)

Fear, misfortune and Kanye West: how Adidas lost its luster (Financial Times)