VF COMPLETES DEAL TO ACQUIRE BESTFORM GROUP

NEW YORK—VF Corp. said Thursday that it had completed its acquisition of Bestform Group Inc.Plans for the deal were first announced in November. Terms were not disclosed, but a VF executive has stated in an interview that VF was paying cash and less than one times sales, based on Bestform’s 1996 revenues of $270 million.The VF-Bestform merger is expected to sweep VF into a face-off with its two prime competitors in the intimate apparel arena: Sara Lee Corp. and The Warnaco Group. Bestform has a well-rounded stable of high-profile bra brands aimed at different distribution channels. Four licensees will place VF’s intimates business in the designer field for the first time: Christian Dior, Natori, Josie and Oscar de la Renta. Bestform’s department store brands are Lily of France, Exquisite Form and Enhance, as well as two sports-bra labels—Gilda Marx and Nautilus. The Bestform and licensed Gitano labels are aimed at discounters.VF, whose product lines include jeanswear, children’s apparel and playwear in addition to intimate apparel, generated revenues of $5.1 billion in 1996, $650.2 million of which was in intimate apparel, including international sales. VF owns the Vanity Fair foundations brand and Vassarette.

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