Leading South Wales Sports Manufacturer Part of Deal Overseen by Lexington Corporate Finance

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Lexington Corporate Finance has advised on the sale of a majority stake in a leading UK heritage sporting manufacturer with a base in South Wales.

The Cardiff-based finance firm acted as the sole Corporate Finance Advisor to the Shareholders of Finest Brands International, which delivers the brands Champion, Toggi and Pro-Line to the global market.

Champion, which manufactures riding hats and body protectors, has a factory in South Wales.

Founded more than 40 years ago by John and Bridget Ayres and run today by John and Bridget’s daughter, Sarah-Jane Fedarb, Finest Brands started as a mail-order saddlery business.

The Champion brand was founded thanks to their love of riding and concern for safety. It is recognised globally as one of the leading brands for safety riding helmets.

As part of the transaction, the founding family has retained a stake in Finest Brands and will continue to be a part of its growth journey.

TDL Media is a sports programme services and media investment firm based in Ireland, and is the investment vehicle of Setanta Sports co-founder, Michael O’Rourke.

The Lexington team, led by Tom Coombes, worked alongside the founding family of Finest Brands to market the business to a number of interested parties, structure the transaction and project manage the process through to completion alongside Finest Brands’ shareholders and management team.

Tom Coombes, Director at Lexington, said:

“The three brands owned by Finest Brands are standout in their field and the Champion brand is an important manufacturing employer in South Wales. We’re proud to have closely worked with the family on this deal and have secured a long-term home for some of the most prominent brands in the UK heritage sporting market.

“This transaction adds another important credential to Lexington’s manufacturing and consumer credentials. We look forward to seeing the brands grow further globally under TDL Media’s ownership and wish Sarah-Jane and the founding family the best for the future.”

Sarah-Jane Fedarb said:

“The Lexington team were alongside us throughout the process and helped us navigate what was a complex decision for the family. They took the time to understand our culture and our history. Lexington helped us find a partner in TDL who we firmly believe will continue with the values and ethos that my family has worked hard to ensure run through the business, our ethics, our ethos, our handmade British manufacturing and the loyalty to our valued and dedicated teams in the group.”

Legal advice to the Shareholders was provided by Richard Jones and James Bowen of Blake Morgan with tax advice from Azets.

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