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Volume 26 No. 209
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          NC-based VF Corp., the "world's largest apparel
     company," will buy CA-based The North Face for "about"
     $25.4M, according to Janet Adamy of the CONTRA COSTA TIMES. 
     The announcement came after The North Face said that it
     "doubted its ability to stay in business and may have to
     file for bankruptcy."  VF will pay $2 per share for The
     North Face's 12.7 million outstanding shares.  Some analysts
     said that VF is "getting a bargain," as former The North
     Face CEO Jim Fifield and Leonard Green & Partners "were
     going to buy the company for $17 per share last year. 
     Additionally, The North Face brand has a "strong following,
     with campers and college sorority girls alike."  Choice
     Funds President & Portfolio Manager Pat Adams said the
     "brand itself is worth more than" $20M.  VF said that The
     North Face acquisition "fits with its strategy of gaining
     market share" in the outdoor apparel sector, as the company
     already owns the JanSport and Jantzen brands and bought
     Sunbeam Corp.'s Eastpak unit last month.  Adamy reported
     that The North Face will "operate as a separate division" of
     VF and "keep its headquarters" in CA (CONTRA COSTA TIMES,
     4/8).  In L.A., James Peltz wrote that with the acquisition,
     VF took "another step to widen its niche apparel lines while
     its big jeans business recovers" (L.A. TIMES, 4/8).