Nike (NYSE:NKE) announced today that it will sell its Cole Haan brand to private equity investing firm Apax Partners. According to a Nike press release, Apax will purchase the upscale footwear and accessories brand for $570 million. The sale is expected to be complete in early 2013.

"The decision to divest of Cole Haan allows us to sharpen our focus on opportunities with the highest potential for strong returns, and to make sure the brands within the NIKE, Inc. portfolio are the most complementary to the NIKE Brand," said Nike President and CEO Mark Parker in the press release. 

"Cole Haan is an iconic brand with broad consumer appeal and we believe the brand has even greater opportunities in the future," said Alex Pellegrini, a partner in Apax's retail and consumer team. Cole Haan operates 110 stores in the U.S. and about 70 stores in Japan; its FY 2012 sales brought in $535 million. Among its main competitors are Coach (NYSE:TPR) and Michael Kors (NYSE:CPRI)

The definitive agreement announced today comes five months after Nike's initial announcement that it would divest the Umbro and Cole Haan brands. In late October, Nike announced Iconix Brand Group (NASDAQ:ICON) as Umbro's next owner. 

Looking ahead, the athletics company said it will focus on growing its Nike, Jordan, Converse, and Hurley brands. 

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