Clothing designer Perry Ellis International Inc on Friday refused to comment on speculation that it is teaming with Oak Hill Capital Partners to bid for Levi Strauss & Co's Dockers brand.

The company is playing down newspaper reports suggesting both Perry Ellis International and Haggar Corp are bidding for the casual clothing brand.

The Wall Street Journal on Friday said competition between the two companies had pushed offers to between $750 million and $900 million.

A Levi Strauss spokeswoman told the newspaper "the sales process is confidential between prospective buyers and us."

On 1 September Levi Strauss & Co reached an agreement with lenders to allow it to push ahead with its plans to sell the Dockers brand and reduce its debt.
 
The company as it will use sale proceeds to pay off at least 30 per cent of its net debt, which is at present just below $2 billion.

The Wall Street Journal said Levi Strauss wants to see bids above $900 million.

In its statement, Perry Ellis said it does review potential acquisitions from time to time, in order to add value for shareholders.

However, the company added: "Any acquisition would only be undertaken if we believed it to be in the best interests of our shareholders and other constituents. We do not intend to comment further on these matters."