PVH Corporation, the big American company that bought Izod in 1995, Calvin Klein in 2003 and Tommy Hilfiger in 2010, has now agreed to buy another big American clothing company, the Warnaco Group. Interestingly given the previous article in this issue, Izod was the former licensee of Lacoste in the U.S.

The cash-and-stock deal values Warnaco at about $2.9 billion, 34 percent more than the closing price of its shares prior to the takeover announcement. Warnaco's shareholders will own about 10 percent of PVH as part of the deal.

One of Warnaco's biggest properties is a perpetual U.S. license for Speedo, which generated revenues of $210 million last year. There is some speculation that Pentland Group, owner of Speedo, may want to buy back the U.S. rights for the brand, but it seems unfounded. Pentland already attempted to do so several years ago, when Warnaco ran into financial trouble.

Warnaco is also one of the biggest licensees for Calvin Klein, handling its jeans and its underwear. As the owner of the Calvin Klein brand, PVH will consolidate more of the brand's operations under one roof. More generally, Warnaco's strong position in Asia and Latin America will complement PVH's strength in North America and Europe.

The acquisition price looks relatively high. For the nine months ended Sept. 29, Warnaco booked an operating income of $151.7 million on revenues of $1,791 million, and they were both down from the corresponding 2011 figures. In the third quarter, Speedo contributed an operating loss of $429,000 on sales of $41.9 million.

However, PVH expects the takeover to boost its earnings in the first full year. It is counting on annual savings of around $100 million from synergies. The acquisition will create one of the world's largest clothing companies, with total annual revenues of around $8 billion.