DONEGER INKS PACT TO BUY CERTIFIED

NEW YORK — The Doneger Group, one of last major buying offices, plans to acquire its archrival, Certified Fashion Guild, which has been in bankruptcy since December.
Abbey Doneger, president of Doneger Group, said Monday the two companies have signed a contract under which Doneger would acquire Certified and its subsidiaries. The deal is subject to bankruptcy court approval. The terms of the transaction, expected to occur April 1, were not released.
Paul Kaess and Lee Mandelbaum, principals of Certified, are expected to become executive vice presidents of Doneger; some other Certified personnel are expected to join Doneger, too.
Certified is one of the latest casualties of a decade of retail consolidation. Few buying offices have survived, partly because of that consolidation and The Doneger Group’s aggressive pursuit to acquire other buying offices. Among the larger firms that have survived are Associated Merchandising and Frederick Atkins. Certified is the umbrella company of CFG Imports, Betty Cohn/Simmons, CFG Purchasing, Deals and Certified Trend Bureau. Doneger is based at 463 Seventh Ave., and Certified is at 119 West 40th St. Kaess, Certified chairman, and Mandelbaum each hold a 50 percent stake in the company.

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