Bradford Group on the Block?

The Bradford Group, a Niles, IL-based gifts and collectibles direct marketer, is believed to be for sale. While no one directly associated with Bradford is willing to say anything about a possible sale at present, some first-round bids may have been put in for the $500-plus million company as far back as June or July.

The Bradford Group’s founder, Roderick MacArthur, originally established the operation as a computer-driven exchange for those who wanted to trade collective decorative plates. Since then, the 32-year-old company has expanded to offer a broad range of collectible dolls, figurines, ornaments, and other items. The company’s brands include Ashton-Drake Galleries, Ardleigh Elliot, The Hamilton Collection, and CollectiblesToday.com. In addition to selling via print catalogs and the Web, it sells to retailers and via space ads.

As with any potential sale, the rumors involving the Bradford Group have been floating around for months. Harry Chevan, a company officer with New York investment banking firm Gruppo Levy, says that he had been contacted periodically during the past few mnth regarding Bradford. “The rumors were running wild over the summer,” says Chevan. “But if something’s going on now…it’s new to me.”

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