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Adidas CEO: We're hot on Kanye, cool on golf

Even with rival Nike getting out of golf clubs, balls and bags, Adidas remains committed to sell its golf properties, outgoing CEO Herbert Hainer told CNBC on Friday.

While golf is on the outs, Adidas sees a bright future in merging lifestyle brands and entertainment to reach younger consumers, he said, highlighting its expanded collaboration with rapper-designer Kanye West.

Addressing the golf landscape, Hainer said on "Squawk Box" it still makes sense to sell its brands that include TaylorMade, despite recently strong 7 percent revenue growth, as well as Nike's moves and golf's return to the Olympics for the first time in 104 years.

With Adidas as a major sponsor of the games, Hainer was speaking from Rio, where the opening ceremony takes place Friday night.

Hainer said: "The golf equipment industry was not a growing market for the last several years." Golf sales at Adidas were down last year by a third their 2012 peak. "[So] we are in talks with several people who are very interested in buying TaylorMade," he said.

But before any sale, Hainer said: "The first and foremost job for us was to bring TaylorMade back to growth, and the undisputed No. 1 in metal woods, which we did." Adidas, which bought TaylorMade in 1997, announced last year it's intentions to part ways with golf.

Kanye West at an event announcing a partnership with Adidas on June 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California.
Getty Images
Kanye West at an event announcing a partnership with Adidas on June 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California.

Putting golf aside, Hainer said: "Adidas really has been successful in bringing forth entertainment and lifestyle together. [Our] collaboration with Kanye West, just to mention one of them ... [gives] especially the young consumer a special feeling."

Last month, Adidas agreed to expand its partnership with West, whom it poached from Nike three years ago. The deal was described by the German sportswear company as the most significant partnership between a nonathlete and a sports brand.

Adidas plans to create a new brand with West for footwear, clothing and accessories, and plans new stores selling West's Yeezy branded products along with Adidas products.

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Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the U.S. broadcast rights holder to all Summer and Winter Games through the year 2032.


— Reuters contributed to this report.