By  on October 28, 2010

The Komar Co. said Thursday it is acquiring the Carole Hochman Design Group, bolstering its position as the biggest privately owned innerwear firm in the U.S.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close within two weeks.

Komar is a $500 million sleepwear, daywear and underwear firm with licensed brands such as Donna Karan, DKNY, Ellen Tracy, Eileen West, Liz Claiborne and Kensie, a young contemporary brand. It also produces the Very Vera Vera Wang sleepwear collection, which is a Kohl’s Corp. license.

The family-owned Hochman company, marking its 80th year in business, generates between $150 million and $200 million annually. It produces and distributes sleepwear and intimates licensees, including Oscar de la Renta, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Betsey Johnson Intimates, Lilly Pulitzer and two new lines, Nicole Miller sleepwear and Tommy Bahama sleepwear, loungewear and boxers for men.

Charles Komar, chairman and chief executive officer, said he didn’t anticipate major changes in the near future at the Hochman company. “Everything will run exactly the way it is for now,” he said.

Carole Hochman is staying as chief creative officer and design director, along with president Seth Morris and chief operating officer Peter Gabbe. Neal Hochman, ceo of Carole Hochman, said he plans to retire.

“I can leave here with the peace of mind knowing that the company is in extraordinarily good hands,” he said. “The synergies are fabulous because the Komar company will help us in sourcing and systems, because Komar is state of the art with its computer systems.”

Addressing those synergies, Carole Hochman said, “We are a premium designer brand company and that will not change. We will not be designing their brands and they will not be designing ours.”

As for any duplication of brand identity between the two, she said, “Of course, Eileen West and I do knit product, but the Carole Hochman brand is simpler, less decorative and more print- and color-driven, while Eileen is known for her embellishments and trims.”

As far as operations are concerned, Komar said after the deal closes, a team will be formed to examine increasing efficiencies in sourcing, accounting and warehousing.

“The two companies are really very similar because both are successful from a distribution standpoint for private label, derivative brands and core brands,” Morris said. “In order to survive effectively in today’s environment, a model and portfolio has to be put together that allows a company to sell to every channel of distribution.”

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