Historic family design business sold
Fred Williamson & Sons Ltd, one of the North East’s longest-standing interior design businesses, has been acquired by C. Brewer & Sons Ltd.
The shareholders of Fred Williamson & Sons were advised on the sale by commercial law firm Square One Law.
The acquisition marks Brewers’ entry into the North East market and is the culmination of a long-term relationship between the two businesses.
Originally founded in 1884 by Fred Williamson in Sunderland as a paint and wallpaper merchant, the business was first acquired by Joseph Randle Oliver in 1961.
His two sons, Chris and Anthony Oliver, who joined the business in 1974, have helped it grow to a seven-store operation across the entire North East employing 50 people.
The seven North East stores will retain the Williamson family name and trade as ‘Williamsons by Brewer’.
Anthony Oliver said: “Maintaining the Williamson name was very important to our father when he bought the business in the early 60s and is something we have been dedicated to throughout the past 44 years.
"From its roots in Sunderland, we have built the business into a well-known North East brand evolving our services to meet contemporary requirements of our customers.
“We have known Chris Brewer and his business for many years and there are a lot of synergies between the companies. Most notably, Brewers is also family-run and shares our ethos and we are confident that they will help the Fred Williamson name continue to grow.
“We have been really well-supported during the sale process by Ian Gilthorpe and Ashraf Ali of Square One Law and Stephen Torgersen of UHY Torgersens, who have been our accountants since 1961.”
Originally based in the South of England, having been founded in Eastbourne, Brewers has 158 UK stores and is the largest independent supplier of decorating materials in the country.
Most recently it expanded into Leeds and, as a result of this acquisition, will now also have stores across County Durham, Teesside, Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.
Simon Brewer, Director of Brewers said “We are exceptionally pleased to welcome all the colleagues at Fred Williamson into the Brewers family. We have acquired Fred Williamson because it is an excellent business and we will invest in the business over the years ahead to ensure it goes from strength to strength.
"Customers will continue to get the same excellent service that they have come to expect from Fred Williamson throughout its long history.”
Ian Gilthorpe, senior partner at Square One Law, said: “There are clear synergies between the businesses and we are delighted to have acted for Anthony and Chris on this transaction.”