Gary Player Direct Liquidates Assets

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Gary Player Direct, a direct marketer of Gary Player brand golf equipment, went out of business Tuesday after failing to find a suitable merger partner to rescue it from a sea of red ink.

The company avoids the expense of a bankruptcy filing by executing a General Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors agreement, which grants an unaffiliated outside party the right to sell the company's assets and distribute the proceeds to creditors.

GPD executives, who less than a year ago touted the company's transition to an e-commerce system, were not available for comment. Calls to the company's offices were referred to The Hamer Group. GPD had marketed its golf products primarily through outbound calling, but more recently had increased its use of the Internet as a marketing medium.

The San Luis Obispo, CA, warehouses of GPD were shuttered this week, according to Frederick Hamer, a principal in The Hamer Group, Sherman Oaks, CA, which is the assignee in the liquidation.

"To be blunt about it, I don't think there are going to be a great amount of assets," said Hamer. He added there could potentially be thousands of creditors who stake a claim to those minimal assets, however. The company will conduct an investigation and issue a report to the potential creditors within 30 days.

GPD said its cash requirements exceeded its cash flow from operations since its inception as a company. At the end of 1999, the company had a working capital deficit of just over $18 million. It also listed its liabilities as $18.6 million and its losses for the nine months ended Dec. 31 as $9.5 million.

After a period during which the company's stock was de-listed from the Nasdaq Bulletin Board, a trading venue for the stock of very small companies, GPD was briefly re-listed earlier this year.

In a press release, GPD said that professional golfer Gary Player, who licensed his name for use by the company, claimed that his reputation had been irreparably harmed by the complaints from the public about the firm.

The company also mentioned that it had some lawsuits pending against it and that some creditors had sought liens against its bank accounts.

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