Russell Corporation announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Bike Athletic Company for $16.25 million. It is anticipated that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee will approve the agreement in the next few days.

Bike, headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., filed for bankruptcy on June 20, 2002 and had been operating under chapter 11 protection. The company had sales of approximately $35 million in 2002. Bike’s products include athletic supporters, knee and elbow pads, braces, protective equipment, team uniforms and performance apparel under several brand names including Bike, Lady Bike, Compression Performance Short, BMS, SXT and Sportfit.

“The Bike brand itself is well-known and respected in the athletic world, and we believe it is a perfect fit with our ongoing efforts to expand our business based on our athletic heritage,” said Jack Ward, chairman and CEO.

Bike Athletic was founded in 1874 as the developer of the original athletic supporter and is known for product innovation including the development of compression shorts. It has become a leading provider of athletic-related products sold to the team sport and individual recreational markets through recreational team dealers, sporting goods retailers and mass merchants. It currently employs approximately 100 people at its Knoxville operation.