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Duo Awaiting Word On Fingerhut Offer

NEW YORK -- Two parties interested in acquiring Fingerhut -- Ted Deikel, its former president, and Thomas Petters -- have hooked up for a prospective run on the direct marketing firm, but they'll have to wait at least a week before finding out if they...

NEW YORK — Two parties interested in acquiring Fingerhut — Ted Deikel, its former president, and Thomas Petters — have hooked up for a prospective run on the direct marketing firm, but they’ll have to wait at least a week before finding out if they can submit a bid for the outgoing Federated Department Stores unit.

As reported last month, Deikel and Petters were among a number of parties interested in acquiring either all of Fingerhut or select catalogs within its operation. Others expressing interest included Peter Lytle’s Business Development Group (BDG) and Texas Pacific Group.

Working together, however, Deikel and Petters can’t submit a bid until the status of a still-pending nonbinding letter of intent between Federated and BDG is decided. A Federated spokeswoman said that the parties should know in “a week or so” whether they’ll proceed to the next stage, which would be a binding letter of intent between the retailer and BDG.

A financial source said that Deikel and Petter pooled their resources to purchase the entire Fingerhut unit and are in the process of lining up financing for the potential deal. Neither Deikel nor Petters could be reached for comment.

Fingerhut’s assets include Fingerhut and the catalogs operated under the Arizona Mail Order operation, as well as membership-focused Popular Club catalog.

A Federated spokeswoman said that Deikel and Petters jointly sent the company a letter several weeks ago offering to make a bid if the one currently on the table by BDG does not go through. The Deikel/Petters expression of interest was set to expire last Friday, but was extended because the BDG matter was still pending.

The bid from BDG, which is the subject of a nonbinding letter of intent between the turnaround firm, based in Wayzata, Minn., and Federated, does not include Popular Club.

Investment bankers have pegged the value of the core Fingerhut operation at no higher than $100 million, while the sale of the remaining catalog operations could bring a minimum of $400 million.

A spokeswoman for BDG said: “Both sides continue discussions and have agreed to move into the next phase of due diligence. BDG, its bankers and investors are moving into an expanded review of certain critical data necessary in the financing process.” She added that the company is “moving quickly and remains confident that they will consummate the transaction.”