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Fashion brands join forces with help of Swindon firm

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Wendy Lam from Watershed with Cityfax's founder Gerry Solomons and managing director Anne-Marie BaggottsWendy Lam from Watershed with Cityfax's founder Gerry Solomons and managing director Anne-Marie BaggottsTwo international fashion businesses have joined forces thanks to Swindon-based corporate finance specialist, Watersheds.

Cityfax, based in Corby, Northamptonshire, was established in 1973 and supplies hats, beach wear, ties, scarves and socks to the UK’s major high street retailers and supermarkets.

Watersheds was engaged by the founder, Gerry Solomons and managing director, Anne-Marie Baggott. They wanted to sell the business in a way that allowed it to grow and develop for the benefit of all the people involved in it.

A sale to a related but different business, might allow cross selling and product diversification opportunities they thought particularly important in a difficult retailing market.

Watersheds has sold the company to Meller Group, based in Bedford, which dates back to 1913. Initially known as Julius Meller Ltd, it specialises in women’s and men’s accessories and has expanded into jewellery, cufflinks, gifts, childrenswear, homeware and beauty products.

Wendy Lam, Partner of Watersheds, said: “The businesses are stronger together and there have been no job losses. It is massively satisfying to help Gerry and Anne-Marie. We did the deal in eight weeks, so there were a few late nights, but it all feels tremendously worthwhile.”

Gerry Solomons said: “Both Anne-Marie and I have been greatly impressed by the close co-operation that has taken place between Watersheds and ourselves from the very beginning of our relationship.

“They identified a number of suitable acquirers and helped negotiate the best overall deal. They worked very closely with us to gain a full understanding of our business and the industry in which we operate.

“During the complex negotiations they demonstrated a great understanding of our concerns and the complexities of the deal. We have, with their expertise achieved a very good outcome both for us, our staff and the new owners.”