Manhattan, New York-based Phillips-Van Heusen, the apparel company that owns brands such as Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole and Izod, announced Monday that it would acquire Tommy Hilfiger from private-equity firm Apax Partners in a $3 billion buyout deal. Apax acquired Hilfiger in 2006 for $1.6 billion.

The Tommy Hilfiger brand – preppy, lots of color – debuted in 1985 with a clothing line for men, then expanded into shoes, accessories, fragrance and home products for men, women and kids. The Hilfiger brand really shot through the roof in the ’90s, but by the later part of the decade consumer tastes were shifting and Hilfiger was no longer the ‘it’ fashion brand.

“This is a unique opportunity to bring together two premier companies, each with iconic brands,” Emanuel Chirico, Philips-Van Heusen’s chief executive, said in a PVH statement.

Upon the closing of the transaction, Mr. Tommy Hilfiger will remain in his role as Principal Designer and Visionary for the Tommy Hilfiger brand.

Mr. Tommy Hilfiger, who looks to remain actively involved in the business, said the PVH deal is the next phase in the global evolution and expansion of the Tommy Hilfiger brand.

“I am confident that Manny Chirico and the PVH organization will provide Tommy Hilfiger with the support and investment to allow my great partners in the Tommy Hilfiger organization to do what is necessary to take our brand to new heights,” said Hilfiger.

The Van Heusen purchase of Tommy Hilfiger will reportedly bump up sales of Phillips-Van Heusen to $4.6 billion. Chirico, who said he believes the Hilfiger and PVH cultures are highly compatible, added that Tommy Hilfiger fits the company’s acquisition criteria: a strong brand, superior management, highly profitable, immediately accretive to earnings, and focused on international growth.

Said Chirico:

“All of this makes us confident that this compelling combination will generate strong revenue growth, high operating margins and substantial free cash flow, which should enable us to reduce debt very quickly while continuing to grow the companies’ respective brands and businesses.”