The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Hanesbrands, Maidenform Brands, L Brands, Columbia Sportswear and GAP

CHICAGO, July 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Hanesbrands Inc. (NYSE: HBI-Free Report), Maidenform Brands Inc. (NYSE: MFB-Free Report), L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LTD-Free Report), Columbia Sportswear (Nasdaq: COLM-Free Report) and GAP Inc. (NYSE: GPS-Free Report).

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Hanesbrands Takes Over Maidenform

Leading apparel retailer, Hanesbrands Inc. (NYSE: HBI-Free Report) has announced the takeover of the underwear apparel chain, Maidenform Brands Inc. (NYSE: MFB-Free Report), for approximately $575 million.

The buyout is in accordance with HBI's acquisition strategy. Maidenform sells intimate apparel, which forms a core category of Hanesbrands.

The average-figure bra business of Maidenform targeting younger buyers complements Hanesbrands' full-figure bra business targeting older women. Moreover, Maidenform's popular shapewear category fits in very well with Hanesbrands established panty business.

The acquisition will bring Maidenform's popular brands like Flexees, Lilyette, Self Expressions and Sweet Nothings and Hanebrands' market leading brands like Playtex, Bali, Just My Size, Hanes, Barely There, Wonderbra, Champion and L'eggs under one banner.

However, the international operations of the two companies are limited and overlap only in Canada and Mexico. Both the companies have small businesses in Europe. Post the takeover, Hanesbrands plans to expand the Maidenform brands across the untapped Asian markets.

The deal, expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013, will be funded by cash in hand and short-term borrowings on Hanesbrands' revolving credit facility. However, the deal is subject to approval from Maidenform's shareholders and regulatory authorities as well as completion of other formalities.

The Maidenform acquisition will enrich Hanesbrands' existing portfolio and will allow it to offer tough competition to the likes of L Brands Inc.'s (NYSE: LTD-Free Report) Victoria's Secret, going forward.

The acquisition is expected to be accretive to Hanesbrands' earnings in the first 12 months. Moreover, it is expected to generate additional revenue of $500 million, 60 cents in earnings per share, $80 million of operating profit and $65 million of free cash flow.

We believe that the acquisition synergy and the company's endeavor to innovate continuously will keep Hanesbrands competitively ahead of its peers.

Currently, Hanesbrands has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Investors should consider also stocks such as Columbia Sportswear (Nasdaq: COLM-Free Report) and GAP Inc. (NYSE: GPS-Free Report), all carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

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