NEW YORK — Despite the intense competition in the $14.5 billion intimate apparel sector, the acquisition of Maidenform Inc. by a private equity firm is being lauded as a positive industry move by manufacturers and retailers.

Many like the fact that Maidenform, the 82-year-old grande dame of the bra business that’s projected to generate wholesale revenues in excess of $300 million this year, will remain an independent, privately held company. As reported, Ares Corporate Opportunities Fund, a $4.5 billion firm, acquired Maidenform this month for an estimated $215 million from Oaktree Capital Management and other shareholders.

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