Auction to determine fate of Jackson & Perkins, Park Seed

An auction scheduled for Aug. 23 will determine the collective fate of horticultural catalogers Jackson & Perkins Co. and Park Seed. Both mailers had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy five months ago.

George W. Park Seed Co., which owns Park Seed Wholesale, and J&P Acquisition, which owns J&P Co. and J&P Wholesale, filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of South Carolina on April 2. The lead debtor, George W. Park Seed Co., listed assets of $8.33 million and liabilities of $44.79 million.

The court granted substantive consolidation for the five entities in the Chapter 11 filing on July 22. This allows for the transfer of funds among the entities and the debtors to meet deadlines placed on the production of the holiday catalog.

Before the five entities were consolidated into one debtor, court documents say it was not possible to determine with certainty which assets belonged to which debtors and which debtors have obligations to which creditors.

All of the entities’ operations were conducted from a facility in Greenwood, SC, under the same president, Charles Fox, and general counsel, Kim Thomason. They also share general management, employees, administration, human resources, accounting, information technology; catalog services, creative support, call center and e-commerce personnel.

Stanley Neely, the trustee in the case, says Jackson & Perkins will be able to mail catalogs this year due to the debt consolidation.

“We’re excited about this, because there is a real good chance to save this business and keep this business in Greenwood, SC,” Neely says. “Park Seed is a household company and a great old company. The five entities were jointly administered, which allowed us to move money into the Jackson & Perkins budget.”

Jackson & Perkins—founded in 1872 and famous for its roses— became part of the Park Seed group in 2007. Former owner Harry & David Holdings sold most of the assets of the $73.8 million Jackson & Perkins for roughly $21 million to an investment group.

Neely, who says he has received multiple offers to buy the company, estimates 250-300 employees work for the companies involved in the Chapter 11 filing. The respective companies have been running business as usual.

The stalking horse bidder is J&P Park Acquisitions, with a purchase price of $7.09 million. Neely says bids must be received by Aug. 18. “The plan is to sell as an ongoing business,” he says. “There will be a plan for the creditors.”

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