Nike Inc. is close to a deal to sell Cole Haan, the Scarborough-based maker of shoes and accessories, to private equity firm Apax Partners for about $500 million, according to a New York Times report.

Nike said in June it would sell Cole Haan, as well as its Umbro soccer brand in an effort to cut costs and focus on its namesake brand. In October, Nike agreed to sell Umbro to the Iconix Brand Group for $225 million.

Apax and Nike declined to comment on the latest deal. Cole Haan could not be immediately reached for comment.

Cole Haan’s corporate headquarters is in the Roundwood Business Park in Scarborough. The company has about 100 employees in Scarborough, according to the Scarborough Economic Development Corp.

Nike acquired Cole Haan in 1988 for about $95 million. Cole Haan moved its headquarters to Scarborough last summer, after about 35 years in Yarmouth.

The acquisition of Cole Haan moved Nike into upscale leather goods and away from its core athletic niche. The sale of the brand would allow Nike to focus more on its signature Nike products along with its Jordan, Converse and Hurley brands.

Staff Writer Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

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