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Wickes to Sell Credit Subsidiary to Its Managers

From wire and staff reports

Wickes Cos. said it will sell its credit card subsidiary for about $300 million to a corporation founded by two company executives, the firm announced Friday.

The deal for WCI Financial Corp., expected to close Wednesday, is separate from the $538.9-million acquisition of Wickes by two New York investment groups, Wickes spokesman Michael Sitrick said.

WCI President James E. Neese and Wickes Vice President and Treasurer Ervin J. Bolks organized the purchase, which will be financed by General Electric Capital Corp., Sitrick said. The credit card company will retain its name.

Other Parts May Be Sold

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WCI provides private-label credit card programs for retail stores with substantial concentration in the furniture industry. It will continue to provide such programs for Wickes Furniture division, Sitrick said.

The Blackstone Group and Wasserstein, Perella & Co., the two groups buying Wickes, announced previously that they might break up and sell parts of the company, such as Wickes Furniture, Builders Emporium home improvement stores and Orchard Supply Hardware stores.

The Wickes Cos. buyout is expected to be completed on Thursday, Sitrick said.

The investment groups also will replace Sanford Sigoloff, the Wickes chairman who saved the company from bankruptcy and sought to take it private in a leveraged buyout, which led to the investor groups’ successful takeover bid.

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