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Triton May Buy Controlling Interest in Fuqua Industries

Triton Group, a publicly traded mini-conglomerate that is 41% owned by San Diego-based Intermark, said Thursday that it might acquire a controlling interest in Fuqua Industries, an Atlanta-based company with $1 billion in annual revenue.

Triton in recent weeks has acquired 521,600 shares, or 2.5%, of Fuqua’s 21.6 million outstanding shares for $14.9 million. Triton since has negotiated options, exercisable in January, to acquire 1.3 million more shares that are owned by the family of Fuqua founder J. B. Fuqua.

Triton would own 8.7% of Fuqua’s stock if the options are exercised. Triton’s eventual goal would be to “establish a control position” in the company, according to a spokesman.

However, Triton would first need approval from the Federal Home Loan Bank Board to acquire more than 10% of Fuqua’s stock, because Fuqua owns Georgia Federal, an Atlanta-based savings bank. Intermark intends to seek regulatory approval from the FHLBB, according to a Fuqua spokesman.

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Earlier this month, Triton Vice President Mitchell Woodbury said it was “unlikely” that Triton would acquire more than 10% of Fuqua’s stock, because Triton has not been interested in running “highly regulated businesses such as savings banks.”

Triton has been impressed by Fuqua’s other businesses, which include lawn-and-garden, photo-finishing and sporting goods stores, Woodbury said.


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