KORET’S GRANOFF CONSIDERING BUY OF SARA LEE’S U.S. TEXTILE PLANTS

Byline: Karyn Monget

NEW YORK — Koret of California chairman Marty Granoff is a potential buyer of the 13 U.S. textile plants put on the block by Sara Lee Corp.
Such an acquisition would put Granoff in the position of supplying Sara Lee with merchandise for three of its core brands: men’s and boys’ underwear by Hanes; women’s and girls’ underwear, daywear and casualwear by Hanes Her Way, and Champion activewear and related separates for men and boys.
For the fiscal year ended June 28, Sara Lee listed combined revenues of its Hanes and Hanes Her Way labels at $2 billion in its 1997 annual report. Champion is the number two brand of premium (men’s) activewear in the U.S., the report said.
As reported, Sara Lee has put the plants up for sale as part of its plan, announced in September, to “deverticalize” announced in September, by selling many of its manufacturing assets to sharpen its focus on marketing.
Asked Friday about reports he was negotiating to acquire the Sara Lee knitting and cotton yarn spinning facilities, Granoff said, “I would say we are looking…but nothing has been completed.” He would not elaborate.
In addition to his post at Koret, a women’s moderate sportswear maker based in San Francisco, Granoff is chairman of Valdor, a men’s and women’s knitwear resource. He also is co-chairman of a new lobbying organization, Business Alliance for Trade Agreements, which seeks expanded textile and apparel trade benefits for the Caribbean.
Sources said a second party is involved in the Sara Lee negotiations with Granoff.
As reported, Jack Ward, a former executive vice president of Sara Lee who left the company in 1996, was expected to have been an investor, but he exited negotiations several weeks ago. On Friday, a Sara Lee spokesman at the firm’s headquarters in Chicago said Ward “felt he had insufficient time to effectively manage both the [textile] operations and pursue other business opportunities.”
Asked about Granoff’s interest, the spokesman said, “We are not disclosing the names of the parties involved in the negotiations.”

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