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financial

Worth Buys In-home Competitor Juliana

The Worth Collection Ltd. has acquired Home Marketing Associates Inc., owner of Worth's competitor in the direct shopping channel Juliana Collezione, in order to become a bigger player in the in-home shopping industry.

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The Worth Collection Ltd. has acquired Home Marketing Associates Inc., owner of Worth's competitor in the direct shopping channel Juliana Collezione, in order to become a bigger player in the in-home shopping industry.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, closed Monday night. Worth, which is partially owned by private equity group Catterton Partners, bought out Irving Spitalnick, who wanted to retire as the majority shareholder in Home Marketing Associates.

Founded in 1994, Juliana is a bridge collection of women's suits and sportswear that retails for $300 to $1,000 through 350 sales representatives who do private presentations in homes. The company does about $25 million in volume. The acquisition by Worth Collection, which does between $80 million and $100 million through the same channel, allows the two brands to take a larger share of the personalized home shopping industry, competing against niche powerhouse Carlisle Collection, which sources estimate has sales of $150 million.

For Jack L. Hendler, president of Net Worth Solutions Inc., a New York-based mergers and acquisitions firm that represented Spitalnick, the deal marks the first in 2008 of a new breed of mergers of like companies, forced by tough economic conditions and the need to cut back-end costs with synergies.

"Home shopping is a great thing — you don't have to deal with the retailers, and you can go direct to the consumer," Hendler said. "Combined, they are likely going to be the second-largest player in the home shopping market."
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