This Acquisition Will Give Hanes a Lift

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Break out the bubbly. Hanesbrands will be buying bra maker Maidenform in a deal valued at around $575 million. It's paying $23.50 per share, a 23% premium to Maidenform's $19.09 closing price yesterday.

While the acquisition doesn't create any new direction for the undergarments manufacturer -- since, as Hanesbrands CEO Richard Noll said without the least bit of irony, Maidenform will be a "natural fit" as it complements Hanes' own bra business -- it looks to get a lift from the $600 million in revenues Maidenform generated in 2012, 57% of which came from bras that are targeted to average-size women. That complements Hanes' own full-figure bras, such as Playtex and Wonderbra, which compete against privately held Lane Bryant and L Brands' Victoria's Secret.

By acquiring Maidenform, Hanes expects the growth opportunities to increase as it realizes cost savings and the ability to better serve retailers through increased scale. One analyst suggested that this sets up Hanes' next stage of growth. It generated $4.5 billion in sales last year, and just over half -- or $2.3 billion -- came from intimate wear, but the segment generated virtually all of the garment maker's profits.  After the deal is done, Hanes expects adjusted annual revenues will top out above $5 billion within three years' time, producing $0.60 per share in earnings, $80 million in operating profits, and $65 million worth of free cash flow.

After reaching a high of $606 million in 2011, the bra maker's revenues have fallen lately, down 1% last year and down another 4% over the last 12 months compared to the year-ago period. But by combining Maidenform's production with its in-house manufacturing capabilities, Hanesbrands hopes sales will look up again.

Shares of Hanesbrands have risen nearly 100% higher over the past year, and are up 20% in the last quarter alone. With analysts expecting earnings in the current quarter to be 40% higher over last year and to rise 2% for the full fiscal year, it looks as if there's potential for additional growth opportunities ahead.

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