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Hanes Acquires Knights Apparel

Apparel supplier HanesBrands (asi/59528) is buying Knights Apparel for about $200 million from private equity firm Merit Capital Partners.

Apparel supplier HanesBrands (asi/59528) is buying Knights Apparel for about $200 million from private equity firm Merit Capital Partners. The acquisition is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2015.

Knights Apparel, a marketer of licensed collegiate logo apparel, sells T-shirts, sweatshirts and other sports apparel with college logos and graphics to mass merchant retailers. Its apparel represents 400 of the largest U.S. colleges and universities. Hanes’ Gear for Sports division already has a toehold in the university bookstore market, selling licensed collegiate apparel.

“This is an exciting acquisition opportunity to leverage our existing Gear for Sports licensed collegiate apparel business, our expertise and size in the mass retail channel, and our low-cost global supply chain,” said Hanes CEO Richard A. Noll. “Combining the two companies is a great way to create value.”

With the addition of Knights, Hanes expects to bring in more than $450 million in annual sales from licensed and graphic apparel.

Founded in 2001, Knights has about 210 employees, with primary offices and a distribution center in Spartanburg, SC. The company currently buys all of its apparel from outsourced contractors and sends those garments to outsourced embellishment facilities. Joe Bozich, CEO of Knights Apparel, will join Hanesbrands when the acquisition is complete.

“HanesBrands is the perfect partner and owner for Knights Apparel,” Bozich said. “The company understands our business and will make us more valuable to our licensor and retail partners, allowing us to provide best-in-class products, brand management and service.”