3A Antonini, the Italian footwear company that markets the lifestyle casual Lumberjack brand, has taken over control of A-Line, a small start-up firm in Sardinia that specializes in high-tech football boots, apparel, balls and accessories. The takeover doesn’t include two stores on the Italian island.

A-Line’s boots use special studs and materials. The company claims that they are worn by more than 500 professionals in first and second-division teams, including Gianfranco Zola. The company was set up in 1999 by a former football champion from New Calaedonia, Christian Karenbeu.

The new owners want to support A-Line’s further development on the technical side, diversifying the product range into basketball and golf, while launching football-inspired lifestyle clothing and footwear in time for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. A high-visibility endorsement is in the works.

Meanwhile, the group continues to push the foreign development of Lumberjack, whose export sales have doubled for the current selling season. A major licensing deal has been signed in Korea with a company that belongs to the Hyaundai group, and another one should be signed with a Chinese group shortly.

Last year, 3A Antonini took over Alexander Nicolette, as reported. The line has been rejuvenated, and the first results of that process are being presented at the current MICAM fair in Milan. Overall, the 3A Antonini group had sales of more than 75 million euros in 2004.