The sale of Russell Corporation to Fruit of the Loom Inc, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, was completed on Wednesday (2 August) after being overwhelmingly approved by shareholders.

Under the terms of the deal, Berkshire Hathaway has paid US$18 a share for the apparel and sporting goods maker, in a transaction valued at $597m. However, it will also assume an estimated $400m-500m in debts.

The sale should put Russell Corp in a stronger financial position and help improve its competitiveness in the apparel, sports equipment and athletic shoes sectors.

Russell Corp, which makes the Jerzees, Spalding and Russell Athletic sportswear brands, embarked on a restructuring and cost-cutting exercise in January that saw the loss of around 2,300 jobs, mainly in the US.

The acquisition will also expand Berkshire Hathaway's apparel holdings, which includes the Fruit of the Loom, Garan and Fechheimer brands.

As reported on yesterday, Russell's chairman and CEO John F Ward is to step down after more than eight years.