NEW YORK — Tommy Hilfiger Corp. said early Friday that it has agreed to be sold to Apax Partners in an cash deal worth $1.6 billion, or about $16.80 a share. As reported by WWD, Apax was the lead contender in bidding for Tommy Hilfiger.

The purchase price for Tommy Hilfiger is a 5 percent premium over Thursday's closing price. The deal is expected to close this spring and needs shareholder approvel. Regarding company founder Tommy Hilfiger, the designer inked a deal for a new, long-term employment agreement. He will serve as principal designer and as a chairman. With his holding in the company, his payout from the sale will be $80 million.

Tommy Hilfiger chief executive officer David Dyer will leave the company, and will be replaced by Fred Gehring, ceo of Tommy Hilfiger Europe.

Meanwhile, Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., which was said to have been working with Apax on the deal, said in a statement that it "and Apax are in preliminary discussions to explore how PVH can work together in connection with the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation in the U.S.

"There is no agreement or understanding between Apax Partners and PVH regarding any relationship, and there can be no assurance that the parties will enter into an agreement or understanding regarding Tommy Hilfiger Corp.," the company added.

— Arthur Zaczkiewicz

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