Skip to main content

Hanes Sells Champion Off

Hanesbrands Inc. announced the sale of Champion Products and that’s the name and “certain operating assets” to the Authentic Brands Group for a pretty penny, i.e. 1.2 Billion (with a “B”) dollars with another 300 million bucks if certain other things go well. You can read their press release here.

In a very rough way this is my interpretation of what has gone down.  Young folks for a short while were all about the Champion brand. Kids don’t like their parents’ brands, but their grandparents’ brand can be ok. Nobody described to me anything Champion did to deserve this, it was just a cycle and they not just caught a wave, they caught a little tsunami. However, all good things come to an end and this wave hit shore hard and Hanesbrand has been suffering. Activist investors usually do not give a rat’s derriere about the long term or recent history, and in this case the activist investor Barington Capitol forced Hanes to do something and it resulted in this sale. Hanesbrand meanwhile has signaled loud and clear with this that they don’t care about the printed t-shirt very much as they are going in another direction,  “through a focused strategy on advancing its leading innerwear brands.” That means underwear and bras for Hanes, not printable t-shirts. Perhaps they should consider that now that Gildan and others might clean their clock on printables, with those profits made there, perhaps they might come after the  Hanes underwear next, but that’s just me doing some conjecturing.

Here via wikipedia is the history of Knickerbocker Knitting, known to us now as Champion:

The company was originally based in Rochester, NY until bought by Sara Lee in 1989. At the time Sara Lee owned Hanes but they since have sold Hanes. Champion was Hanes’ second-largest brand.

Champion was established in 1919 by the Feinbloom Brothers as the “Knickerbocker Knitting Company.” The company soon signed an agreement with the Michigan Wolverines to produce uniforms for their teams.

In the 1930s the Knickerbocker Knitting Company was renamed “Champion Knitting Mills Inc.” and they were producing heavy-duty sweatshirts, most famously for the military academy West Point.

Champion was acquired by Sara Lee in 1989 and Champion produced uniforms for all the NBA teams during the 1990s and some NFL teams during the 1970s to the 1990s, for both on-field and retail purposes. It has also produced sportswear for many major colleges. They were also the uniform manufacturer of the 1992 Olympic basketball team

Champion supplied the football uniforms for Notre Dame but Notre Dame signed an agreement with Adidas in 2008, which ended a partnership Champion had with the university that spanned over 50 years.

That is a lot of history, but now the tide goes out.



Leave a comment