Deikel, Petters Made Backup Offer For Fingerhut

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Business Development Group Acquisitions Inc. may be viewed as Fingerhut's savior, but the nonbinding letter of intent signed last week by the Wayzata, MN-based turnaround and investment firm doesn't mean there is a done deal.

Also in the mix is former Fingerhut CEO Ted Deikel and Tom Petters, who have been identified as the source of a second offer. While parent company Federated Department Stores' vice chairman Ronald W. Tysoe said there are no active discussions with any other parties regarding Fingerhut, "the sale process remains open."

Mary Pernula, Petters' spokeswoman, said Petters was "out of town" Friday. She also cited a confidentiality agreement that has been signed, adding, "We don't have a whole lot to say," regarding details of the offer. Pernula said the Deikel-Petters offer expires March 8. It was submitted Feb. 21, the same day BDG made its announcement.

"Mr. Petters and Mr. Deikel, if they were to have their offer accepted, would run an ongoing Fingerhut," she said. "The whole purpose [of the Deikel-Petters offer] is as an alternate if the other offer does not come to fruition. They want to make sure the alternative is not liquidation. That was the reason they made the offer."

Pernula said it would be premature to discuss profitability projections or targets.

Additional due diligence must be completed by the purchaser, which also must secure financing. Federated must learn by early March of the purchaser's ability and intent to proceed, which would be followed by the negotiation of a definitive purchase agreement.

BDG's financial adviser for the deal is Alterity Partners, New York.

"We remain positive about our ability to complete this transaction," Peter Lytle, managing partner of the Business Development Group, said in a statement. "The purchase of Fingerhut as a viable and going concern remains BDG's top priority, and BDG has been moving as quickly as possible to get this transaction completed."

Reuters reported that Federated is having no active discussions with any other potential buyers of the entire Fingerhut business but that it also would consider selling off the company in parts, if necessary.

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