Adidas AG is a multinational corporation, founded and headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany. They designs and manufactures shoes, clothing and accessories. It is known to be the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe, and the second largest in the world, after Nike. It is the holding company for the Adidas Group, which consists of the Reebok sportswear company. The company was started by Adolf Dassler in his mother's house and was joined by his elder brother Rudolf in 1924 under the name Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory. Dassler assisted in the development of spiked running shoes (spikes) for multiple athletic events. To enhance the quality of spiked athletic footwear, he transitioned from a previous model of heavy metal spikes to utilising canvas and rubber. Dassler persuaded U.S. sprinter Jesse Owens to use his handmade spikes at the 1936 Summer Olympics. However, the brothers split up in 1947 after relations between them had broken down, with Rudolf forming a new firm from Rudolf Dassler. He he called it Ruda but later rebranded Puma. And Dassler forming a company formally registered as Adidas AG from Adi Dassler on 18 August 1949.
Adidas' logo is three stripes, which is used on the company's clothing and shoe designs as a marketing aid. The branding became so successful that Dassler described Adidas as "The three stripes company". In 1952, following the 1952 Summer Olympics, Adidas acquired its signature 3-stripe logo from the Finnish athletic footwear brand Karhu Sports, for two bottles of whiskey and the equivalent of 1600 euros. After a period of trouble following the death of Adolf Dassler's son Horst Dassler in 1987, the company was bought in 1989 by French industrialist Bernard Tapie,a famous specialist of rescuing bankrupt companies, for ₣1.6 billion (now €243.9 million). Tapie decided to move production offshore to Asia and hired Madonna for promotion. He sent a shoe sales representative from Christchurch, New Zealand to Germany, and met Adolf Dassler's descendants (Amelia Randall Dassler and Bella Beck Dassler) and was sent back with a few items to promote the company there. In 1992, Tapie mandated the Crédit Lyonnais bank to sell Adidas for being unable to pay the loan interest, but the bank subsequently converted the outstanding debt owed into equity of the enterprise, which was unusual as per the prevalent French banking practice. The state-owned bank had tried to get Tapie out of dire financial straits as a personal favour to Tapie, it is reported, because Tapie was Minister of Urban Affairs (ministre de la Ville) in the French government at the time.
In 1994, a friend of Bernard Tapie named Robert Louis-Dreyfus, became the new CEO of the company. He was also the president of Olympique de Marseille, a team Tapie had owned until 1993. Tapie filed for personal bankruptcy in 1994. During 1997, he served 6 months of an 18-month prison sentence in La Santé prison in Paris. In February 2000, Crédit Lyonnais sold Adidas to Louis-Dreyfus for a much higher amount of money than what Tapie owed, 4.485 billion (€683.514 million) francs rather than 2.85 billion (€434.479 million). They also purposely bankrupted Tapie's company that owned Adidas, because only the company had the right to sue them.