By and  on November 3, 2005

NEW YORK — The top executives at the former Haggar Corp. were told to pack their bags by the company's new owners, buyout firms Perseus LLC and Infinity Associates.

Perseus and Infinity, along with Hong Kong-based footwear firm Symphony Holdings, in September acquired Haggar for $212 million. The deal closed on Tuesday. Dallas-based Haggar, which markets women's sportswear and men's casual and dress apparel, holds the exclusive licenses in the U.S. for Claiborne, Kenneth Cole New York and Kenneth Cole Reaction trademarks for men's pants.

J.M. Haggar III, chairman and chief executive officer; Frank Bracken, president, and Alan Burks, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, have left the company.

At the time of the initial announcement in September, Haggar said in a statement that the deal will help the firm improve its sourcing, strengthen its marketing power and grow in the global market. The reason for the change in management could not immediately be determined, and the executives could not be reached for comment.

The pairing of Perseus and Infinity to acquire Haggar was not the firms' first foray into the apparel sector. The two were once interested in making a bid for Levi & Co.'s Dockers brand last year. They also acquired bankrupt Converse in a $61 million equity deal in 2001. Two years later the private equity firms sold their stake in Converse to Nike for $305 million.

Perseus is based in Washington and counts among its top partners financier Frank Pearl and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke.

If Perseus has the financial savvy, then it is Infinity that has the apparel expertise. Infinity is an investment firm specializing in the acquisition of leading brands in the consumer soft goods industry. Infinity is led by Marsden Cason and William Simon, both of whom ran Odyssey Holdings. Odyssey is the former parent of The North Face.

In March, Haggar Corp. hired Bear Stearns & Co. to pursue a possible sale of the company. As of the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2005, the company paid down all of its corporate debt and reduced inventory levels to $88 million, down from $5.7 million in debt and $96 million in inventory in the prior year.

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