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Warnaco Said to Be Buying Op

NEW YORK — The Warnaco Group Inc. is set to announce today that it is buying Ocean Pacific.<BR><BR>The possible acquisition was first reported in WWD on July 1. Warnaco executives could not be reached for comment. Sources said the company is...

NEW YORK — The Warnaco Group Inc. is set to announce today that it is buying Ocean Pacific.

The possible acquisition was first reported in WWD on July 1. Warnaco executives could not be reached for comment. Sources said the company is expected to make the announcement today when it reports second-quarter earnings results.

The discussions between Warnaco and Ocean Pacific, or Op, have centered on the sale of the entire company. Warnaco executives have publicly stated that they are kicking into gear a growth strategy that includes acquisitions.

Op represents a big boost to Warnaco. The West Coast firm’s main responsibility is in promoting the brand, as it is primarily a licensing entity. Royalties it receives are pure profit, which would now go into Warnaco’s bottom line. With Op’s wholesale and licensing figures, the purchase price should be in the $45 million to $65 million range.

The advantage for Warnaco is that it would own the Op trademarks, and the opportunities for line extensions are endless, including expansion of the Op brand to intimates. Warnaco eventually can even take some of the licenses in-house to reap all of the profits.