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UK's First Resources Buys Cucina Direct

UK DMer First Resources said yesterday that it acquired premium kitchenware cataloger Cucina Direct.

Talks between the companies began several months ago. However, an initial offer by First Resources was not acceptable to all shareholders, and talks broke down.

As a result, Cucina Direct, also based in the United Kingdom, chose to seek protection from creditors, passing into administration June 13. Under the agreement with administrators announced yesterday, First Resources will acquire all trading names and certain business assets of the company. The catalog and Web site will continue to trade as Cucina Direct.

Cucina Direct, which has 200,000 customers, was named Divertimenti when it was founded in 1993. The brand was renamed in 1999 but has struggled to achieve critical mass, First Resources chairman Nigel Swabey said in a statement.

“Order processing and other costs were therefore disproportionately high, and we anticipate savings of over 1 million [pounds] in operating costs once the business has been integrated,” Swabey said. “The business is also now set to grow substantially as the catalogue can be mailed to a good proportion of our own 3.5 million-strong customer base.”

First Resources began in 1996 with the acquisition of Scotts of Stow. Yesterday's announcement brings the number of catalogs under its operation to 12. Cucina Direct also operates a Web site, cucinadirect.co.uk, which accounts for more than one-third of sales.

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