Nordica sale said to be close

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Montebelluna -- Insiders in Italy say that Benetton may announce a sale of its Sport System units, including Nordica, sometime next week.

Sources close to Nordica say that the final bidders -- Amer Group and the Vaccari/Tecnica consortium -- will be required to buy the complete portfolio of brands, including Prince and Ektelon. Amer, which owns Wilson, is better equipped to manage the racquet sports, but Amer announced, just last week, the purchase of Precor for $178 million, and may have a reduced appetite for expansion just now.

If that's the case, the Vaccari family -- which founded Nordica in the 1930's and built it into the market share leader during the '50s -- will regain control.