Gildan wins race to acquire American Apparel

Canadian apparel maker Gildan Activewear Inc., said it won a court-supervised bankruptcy auction to buy USA fashion retailer American Apparel's brand and certain assets for about $88 million in cash.

Canada-based manufacturer Gildan expects the transaction-which is subject to bankruptcy court approval Thursday-to be completed by early February.

Bell said Gildan hasn't decided where American Apparel-branded goods will be made from now on, but it chose not to exercise the right to assume leases on two factories and a distribution center in Los Angeles.

American Apparel filed for a second bankruptcy in October after struggling to recover from a tumultuous period that included slumping sales, financial losses and the forced exit of founder Dov Charney following allegations of misconduct.

While Bell said Gildan is considering hiring some workers in product design and merchandising, approximately 3,500 American Apparel employees have received notices that they could be laid off as soon as this month, according to California public notices. Montreal-based Gildan Activewear has agreed to buy the brand for US$88 million.

Despite winning the auction, the deal will still need to be approved by a bankruptcy court, which is set to take place later this week.

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It could not be determined whether any other bids submitted for American Apparel were qualified to challenge Gildan, which also makes Goldtoe socks and Anvil clothing. The American Apparel brand will be a strong complementary addition to our growing brand portfolio. Most of Gildan's current employees work outside the US, in places like the Caribbean and Central American countries.

Gildan, which manufactures yarn in North Carolina and Georgia, has no "apprehension about investing in the United States", Mr Bell said.

American Apparel entered into Chapter 11 bankruptcy for a second time in November past year.

Under Charney, American Apparel gained notoriety for its racy advertising and its leader's brash antics.

That doesn't mean American Apparel stores will necessarily stay open.

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