November 3, 2019 / 11:25 PM / 9 months ago

Under Armour faces U.S. federal probe over accounting practices: WSJ

FILE PHOTO: The ticker symbol and company logo for Under Armour, Inc. is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Under Armour Inc (UAA.N) is under investigation by U.S. federal law enforcement officials over whether the sportswear maker shifted sales from quarter to quarter to appear financially healthier, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

The Baltimore-based company confirmed that it is under investigation and is cooperating with the Justice Department and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It also defended its accounting practices and disclosures.

The Journal, citing unnamed sources, said in its report here that a criminal inquiry is being conducted by Justice Department prosecutors, who are also coordinating with civil investigators at the SEC.

In an emailed statement, an Under Armour spokesperson said, “The company began responding in July 2017 to requests for documents and information relating primarily to its accounting practices and related disclosures, and the company firmly believes that its accounting practices and disclosures were appropriate.”

Last month, Under Armour said longtime Chief Executive Officer Kevin Plank was stepping down from the role next year, handing the reins of the company to operations head Patrik Frisk in an attempt to help battle brutal competition from Nike Inc (NKE.N) and Adidas AG (ADSGn.DE) in the United States.

The company, which is due to report third-quarter results on Monday, has been restructuring its operations as it struggles to stand out in the United States, its biggest market, where it has been introducing products to shore up market share.

In July, Under Armour cut its full-year revenue forecast and said it expected a slight decline in North America revenue for fiscal 2019 as demand at its stores and online faced pressure from relentless competition from bigger rivals.

Reporting by Mekhla Raina in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney and Will Dunham

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