Fourth Potential Buyer Named for Fingerhut

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The list of prospective Fingerhut buyers continues to grow as Minneapolis businessman Paul Ellarby was identified in an Associated Press report as another possible suitor.

He reportedly met with St. Cloud, MN, officials Jan. 24 and has made union leaders aware of his interest in Fingerhut, which Federated Department Stores plans to close if it cannot be sold. Fingerhut has a distribution and processing facility in St. Cloud that employs 2,700 people.

Ellarby said he leads an investor group that includes people from Texas and Colorado "with experience in retail fulfillment companies," according to the report.

"Our primary approach is to keep Fingerhut together, assuming it's a viable company," he told the St. Cloud Times while refusing to tell the newspaper about his prior business activities or the names of his partners. He would be surprised if a final sale occurred in less than three months but expected "some significant movement" within four weeks.

Also, Chicago-based union leader Noel Beasley, international vice president and manager of the Midwest regional joint board of the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, emphasized patience Jan. 25. Closing a deal could take at least four to five months, he said.

"It's an enormously complicated transaction," Beasley told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.

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