Federated Puts Delinquent Fingerhut Accounts Up for Auction

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Federated Department Stores Inc., Cincinnati, has put $2.4 billion worth of Fingerhut's delinquent accounts up for auction. The move comes less than a month after the retail giant announced the downsizing of the struggling unit.

Fingerhut spokesman Ben Saukko said that the sell-off is part of the company's plan to become profitable while recouping some of its losses.

"This is old debt incurred before Federated purchased Fingerhut -- it's not new," Saukko said. "We just saw this as an option to clear the board and move forward."

The accounts up for bid date from between 1985 to 1995. Saukko could not confirm the date that the auction will be held.

Federated purchased Fingerhut, Minnetonka, MN, in March 1999 for $1.7 billion. Federated also owns upscale department stores Bloomingdale's and Macy's.

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