Deikel Near Deal for Parts of Fingerhut

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The Fingerhut name may live on after all.


Parent company Federated Department Stores Inc., Cincinnati, signed a non-binding letter of intent yesterday with wholesaler Tom Petters and former Fingerhut chief executive Ted Deikel for the purchase of specific Fingerhut assets.


The deal is subject to the negotiation of a definitive purchase agreement. Federated will suspend ongoing liquidation activities pending the negotiation of a final agreement.


Assets include the distribution center and other facilities in St. Cloud, MN; the cataloger's Minnetonka, MN, corporate headquarters; the data center in Plymouth, MN; the distribution center in Piney Flats, TN; as well as the Fingerhut name, Web site and existing inventory along with other property and equipment.


"We are pleased that the buyers have indicated a desire to rehire a number of Fingerhut employees," Ronald W. Tysoe, Federated's vice chairman, said in a statement.


Federated's vice president of corporate affairs, Carol Sanger, would not comment when asked about the purchase amount. She also did not elaborate when asked about a deadline for a deal to be finalized.


She said the deal did not include the receivables, call centers in Tennessee and Minnesota, "other real estate leases," a warehouse in Utah and the catalog subsidiaries.


Federated has previously said that it expects to sell catalog subsidiaries Arizona Mail Order, Figi's and Popular Club as going concerns.


"This is a much smaller deal than the Lytle deal would have been," Sanger said, referring to the failed attempt by Business Development Group Acquisitions Inc., Wayzata, MN, to acquire Fingerhut. Peter Lytle is the managing partner of BDGA.


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