Mr. Ambition's Biggest Bid

Bernard Tapie offers to buy 80% of troubled Adidas

The French gave the world the word entrepreneur, but they have not given it many entrepreneurs. Most French businessmen still look to the government for cues and favors rather than trying to make quick profits on their own. Bernard Tapie, 47, is one of a new breed who is changing all that. Last week the Paris businessman made his boldest venture yet, offering to buy 80% of West Germany's Adidas, a company 15 times the size of his holding company, Groupe Tapie.

Adidas, which had sales last year of $2.8 billion, is one of the most famous trademarks in the world....

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