Date Set for Auction of F&G Horticultural Titles

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The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware has set an auction date of Aug. 21 to sell Foster & Gallagher's assets, including its horticultural titles.

The sale includes the assets of the Spring Hill Group, Michigan Bulb Group and Gurney's Group as well as other titles.

Sealed written bids must be submitted to the court by Aug. 17. Between Aug. 17 and Aug. 21, the bids will be reviewed. On Aug. 21 pre-qualified bidders can present any final bid. After the winning bid is accepted, the buyer has 10 days to close.

Larry Adelman, interim president of Foster & Gallagher, declined to comment on how much the company expects from the sale. He replaced Robert Ostertag Jr., who resigned as president in June before the company filed for bankruptcy protection.

The company also finalized an agreement last month with Legato, which will act as a fulfillment company to handle an estimated $15 million in customer orders still outstanding for Breck's Dutch Bulbs and Spring Hill Nurseries.

"Finding an outside third party to put up the money enabled us to hold the value of those companies," Adelman said.

Meanwhile, Foster & Gallagher continues to fund and operate The Gift Group, which includes Walter Drake and The HomeMarketplace, while it looks for a buyer.

"Its revenue line has increased, and it is a company that has value to another direct marketer," Adelman said of The Gift Group. "The HomeMarketplace has been profitable over the last few years, and it's actually $1 million ahead of its plan in revenues for the year through June. We are funding the daily operations of the business and are negotiating with a few groups who are interested in purchasing The Gift Group. We're looking to have an initial agreement shortly."

The Gift Group forecast calls for revenues in excess of $50 million with substantial profits this year, according to Larry West, who is president of West Cos., New York, which is an intermediary handling the sale of The Gift Group along with Ulin & Holland, Boston.

"Foster & Gallagher horticulture assets and The Gift Group will be sold in two separate bankruptcy auctions," West said. "For the Gift Group, we anticipate the auction will be finalized at the end of August or early September."

Adelman would not say how much the company will seek for The Gift Group.

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