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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL-Gerald Stevens Inc. has sold its floral wire-service business to Los Angeles-based Teleflora for $10.71 million in cash and assumption of certain liabilities. An estimated 150,000 sf is involved.

Gerald Stevens officials say, in a prepared statement, Teleflora submitted the highest and best offer. The transaction includes the Florafax national headquarters operation in Vero Beach and two other call centers that Florafax operates in Medford, OR and Tulsa, OK.

The Fort Lauderdale-based marketer received approval this week from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Miami to sell its Florafax business unit to Telefora which operates a competing floral wire service.

Earlier this year, the Fort Lauderdale company filed a petition to reorganize its assets and liabilities under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In its decision to seek protection from creditors, the company attributed a soft U.S. economy for slow sales at its estimated 300 retail outlets.

Since filing the petition, the Nasdaq National Market Inc. determined the company failed to file timely financials and delisted the company’s publicly traded stock from trading over-the-counter across the bulletin board.

The court’s decision also quashed a bid by Vero Beach, FL-based Equity Resource Partners, an affiliate of Equity Resource Group of Indian River County Inc. One of the principal partners in Equity Resource is Andrew W. Williams, president of Gerald Stevens’ order generation division.

Officials at Gerald Stevens agreed to pay a termination fee to Equity Resource, since the Vero Beach-based company previously negotiated a contract to acquire the Florafax division.

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