CHICAGO — “Some details” still need to be worked out in the negotiations between Fruit of the Loom and CK Calvin Klein jeans, William Farley, FTL’s chairman and chief executive officer, said Tuesday following the annual meeting here.
The acquisition of the jeans business, he told reporters, will have to be approved by the FTL board.
“We will know within the next two weeks,” he said. Farley declined to put a price tag on the deal, reportedly in the range of $40 million to $50 million. The negotiations cover two factories and the licensing rights to the designer’s jeans, Farley said.
In New York, officials at Calvin Klein Inc. declined to comment on the talks. While reports about the deal have been circulating for a month, FTL did not confirm it was holding negotiations until Monday, as reported, after the Federal Trade Commission, in a routine notification, said it did not find any antitrust concerns in the possible acquisition.
Farley did not even mention the talks with Klein during the course of the shareholders meeting. He only talked about them in response to a reporter’s question after the meeting.
The stockholders parley was held at FTL’s headquarters at the Sears Tower here, with only a handful of questions from stockholders, the main concern apparently being when the company would pay a dividend. Farley answered that he preferred at this stage of the company’s development to reserve these funds for expansion and investment.
Farley told stockholders the company’s aim is to shed its underwear image and become an international manufacturer and marketer of basic family apparel. FTL, he said, has set its sights on a $3 billion worldwide business by 1995 or 1996. In 1993, it had sales of $1.9 billion.
In addition to underwear, FTL’s main products are casualwear, imprinted activewear, family socks and sports-licensed apparel.
Farley noted that “most of the business we do is with mass merchandisers” and acknowledged that business was stagnant toward the end of 1993 and into the first quarter ended March 31. But in the last several weeks, he said, the firm has shown growth in revenues from women’s underwear and hosiery, infants’ layette and playwear, imprinted activewear and sports-licensed apparel.
Active on the expansion front, the firm last year acquired Salem Sportswear and Artex Mfg. Co., another sportswear producer, for a combined outlay of more than $180 million. It followed that up with the March acquisition of Gitano Group for $100 million.
Farley noted FTL will make some products to be marketed under the Gitano label, “thus lowering costs.”