Fingerhut last week made another move toward going out of existence as liquidators have been asked to bid on the cataloger's assets.
The company reportedly sent letters May 10 to more than 40 liquidation companies and asset resellers with May 22 given as the deadline for bids. The letter from Beth Logsdon, Fingerhut's vice president of merchandising operations, called for two bids — one for an estimated $55 million to $65 million worth of product merchandise, and the other for the equipment and fixtures at Fingerhut facilities.
The Associated Press reported that the call for bids surprised Eden Prairie, MN-based wholesaler Tom Petters, who, along with former Fingerhut chief executive Ted Deikel, has been negotiating to buy part of Fingerhut from parent company Federated Department Stores Inc., Cincinnati.
“I didn't know this letter had gone out,” Petters told AP. “I'm surprised that this many people were invited in.”
Petters and Deikel declined to discuss how the letter could affect their negotiations.
Minnesota attorney general Mike Hatch said Deikel told him last week that negotiations to buy a portion of the Fingerhut assets were continuing but that restarting the business would be problematic given the time that has elapsed since Federated announced Fingerhut's closure.
“My goal is to try to find a way short of liquidating Fingerhut,” Deikel told the AP on May 12.
He plans to continue talks this week with Fingerhut and Federated.
“We're now trying to figure out what we can do very quickly and rapidly without the normal process of due diligence,” he said. “We have to either figure out a solution or formula [this week] to restart the business or it won't happen.”
Hatch told AP: “It's not good news, but it's not inconsistent with what's been happening. I think Federated could still be selling the residual property necessary to restart Fingerhut to Deikel, yet be undergoing a liquidation.”