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HanesBrands in $550 million deal for full control of Wonderbra

A Wonderbra billboard.A Wonderbra billboard.
A Wonderbra billboard in London.Chris Jackson–Getty Images

HanesBrands has agreed to pay $550 million to acquire European intimate apparel maker DBApparel, a deal that will give Hanes a much stronger position in Europe and also full ownership of the iconic Wonderbra brand.

HanesBrands (HBI) is buying DBApparel from private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners, and the deal unites two formerly separated sister companies that were once controlled by Sara Lee (which has since been renamed Hillshire Brands). Sara Lee in 2006 sold off DBA to Sun Capital, while Hanes was spun of into a separate publicly traded company.

The deal is unusual in that both companies have had control of Wonderbra and Playtex. As a result of the sale of the European apparel business by Sara Lee, HanesBrands wasn’t permitted to sell some of its intimate apparel to European Union and several other European countries, as well as South Africa.

The combined $6-billion company would give HanesBrands greater exposure to the European market, where it doesn’t have a large presence. Only 11% of HanesBrands’ 2013 sales were derived from international markets, and the largest contributors weren’t European countries. DBA, however, sells inner wear in 16 countries, primarily in Western and Central Europe. About 45% of the company’s sales are in France, while Germany/Austria is another sizable market.

DBA’s brands include Playtex and Wonderbra in many of those countries, though the company’s largest sales contributor is DIM. HanesBrands expects the deal will add to adjusted earnings on a per-share basis in the first 12 months after the deal closes. After full integration, the deal is expected to boost earnings by $1 in per-share adjusted earnings and add more than $875 million in net sales.

HanesBrands has reported consistent revenue growth in recent years, with sales reaching $4.63 billion in 2013. The company’s recent results have also been bolstered by the late 2013 acquisition of Maidenform Brands, a seller of bras, shapewear and panties that HanesBrands bought for about $583 million.