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Nike takes over British sportswear firm

LONDON — Umbro PLC shareholders approved a $566 million takeover by Nike Inc., the British sportswear manufacturer said Thursday.

Umbro said that it expects the deal to be completed in early March, pending court hearings and regulatory approval due in late February.

Britain's Office of Fair Trading gave the takeover a green light earlier this month, downplaying competition concerns.

Nike's all-cash bid is worth $3.84 per share.

Umbro asked shareholders to approve the deal in October.

Based in Cheadle, northwest England, Umbro designs and markets soccer-related apparel, footwear and equipment sold in more than 90 countries. It supplies uniforms to the national teams of England, Ireland, Sweden and Norway, six English Premier League teams and more than 100 other professional teams globally.

The company reported a net profit of 19.8 million pounds ($40.4 million) in 2006, down from 22 million pounds in the previous year.

The acquisition is a major strategic development for Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike, which has said it wants to become the sport's top brand by the next World Cup in 2010.

Nike said it intended to operate Umbro as an independent, U.K.-based subsidiary, like its Converse brand.

Nike's soccer brand has performed well and grown in recent years, but Umbro's ties to the United Kingdom, where Nike has struggled, should help boost the company's profile and performance.

Umbro shares were up 0.4 percent at 191.25 pence ($3.80).