The Process of Selling Champions Begins

Prospective purchasers are encircling Champion.

According to WWD, brand management firms Authentic Brands Group, WHP Global, and Marquee Brands, along with G-III Apparel Group Inc., have expressed interest in purchasing the business.

There may also be other athletes hoping for a change of fortune or an opportunity to lead a well-known sports brand in a different way.

Marquee and G-III declined to comment, while WHP did not answer a WWD question right away.

Jamie Salter, the chief executive officer of Authentic, has already expressed interest in the company. He told WWD last month that he is still looking for his next acquisition. Salter is a significant fashion dealmaker, with companies that account for $30 billion in retail sales. Salter stated, “There is Champion and we are definitely looking at that.” “We would be pleased to examine some of those assets as well if VF decides to sell its brands.”

HanesBrands announced in September that it had enlisted Goldman Sachs & Co. and Evercore to investigate “strategic options” for Champion, which is dealmaker jargon for offering the company for sale.

WWD contacted neither bank, but a person familiar with the proceedings stated a “book” providing a thorough analysis of the Champion business’s current situation was released late last week.

HanesBrands released its third-quarter earnings on Thursday, providing a more comprehensive overview of the company even though the specifics are proprietary.

Champion’s sales decreased by 19% in the quarter that ended on September 30, with a 16% decline in the United States. The company blamed this decline on “continuing challenging activewear market dynamics” and actions taken to position the brand for longer-term success. Sales overseas decreased by 22%.

In the third quarter, HanesBrand’s total sales dropped 9.5% to $1.5 billion, resulting in a $38.8 million net loss and $34 million in adjusted income from continuing operations.

The former Walmart employee Stephen Bratspies, who took over as CEO of HanesBrands in 2020, informed analysts during a conference call that the company had made significant structural improvements to Champion, including establishing globalized product design, streamlining and segmenting our supply chain, and putting in place a new, disciplined channel segmentation strategy. These enhancements have brought to light an even clearer difference between our athletic and innerwear businesses. This has given us and the board the chance to assess possibilities for the worldwide Champion company that could quicken the production of shareholder value.

The procedure is still in its early stages, according to Bratspies, but the brand has already drawn “strong initial interest from a broad group of global partners.”

Experts in intellectual property are constantly drawn to well-known brands that have the potential to be integrated into their global licensing networks. Additionally, G-III has been taking steps to increase its ownership of the company since PVH Corp. made the decision to revoke licensing for its Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands last year.

We are in the early stages of evaluating strategic options and the right path forward for the global Champion business,” HanesBrands said in a statement. “At the same time, we remain committed to advancing Champion’s new, disciplined channel segmentation strategy, energizing the brand and leveraging the work already completed to globalize product design and segment and streamline our supply chain.

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