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Hines Horticulture purchased by creditor

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Black Diamond Capital Management, a private equity and hedge fund based in Illinois, has become the new owner of Hines Horticulture. The commercial grower was purchased by its largest unsecured creditor in a deal approved by a federal bankruptcy court in Delaware.

Hines filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Aug. 20, citing a rise in production costs, pricing pressure from large customers and weather-related factors. The Irvine, Calif.-based company is the industry’s largest producer of ornamental shrubs and container-grown plants in the country, operating seven nurseries in four states. It sells to more than 6,670 retail outlets. Its customers included Home Depot, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and many independent garden centers.

Black Diamond Capital Management, which was Hines’ largest unsecured creditor, held a majority of its $175 million in senior subordinated notes. In earlier court papers, the fund offered $58 million in cash for the company.

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Radio Systems acquires ScatMat line

BY HBSDEALER Staff

British Columbia-based Contech Inc. sold its ScatMat product line to Radio Systems Corporation of Knoxville, Tenn. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Contech Inc. designs and manufactures animal control and wellness products and non-toxic pest management products for home and garden, forestry, landscape, agriculture, and commercial applications. The ScatMat is an indoor pet training device that can be placed on furniture, in doorways, on countertops or window sills. It emits a mild static pulse when a pet touches it, and it helps to establish out-of-bounds areas.

“The capital from this sale bolsters our ability to grow our key product segments through internal development and acquisition,” said Mark Grambart, president and CEO of Contech. Among Contech’s pet and garden brands are EatBetter and DrinkBetter bowls, WaterDog, CatStop, ScareCrow, and pheromone-based insect traps.

Radio Systems Corporation is the owner of PetSafe, PetSafe Pro, Invisible Fence, SportDOG,?Innotek, Guardian, Staywell and FenceMaster brands.

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Wangler Ace Hardware hires PR firm

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Wangler Ace Hardware in Fort Recovery, Ohio, has hired Eisen Management Group (EMG), a Cincinnati-based public relations and marketing firm, to develop and implement a new communications and marketing program, EMG reported.

According to EMG president Rodger Roeser, one of the main aspects of the campaign is to establish Wangler Hardware as a community hub.

“As a fourth generation family business, Wangler Hardware has a reputation of true customer service,” Roeser said. “They have expanded to include more than just basic hardware. As a brand new Vision 21 Ace Hardware store, they’ve evolved into a major player in the Fort Recovery community.”

EMG has developed a new logo and tagline for Wangler and recently finalized new radio creative for the company. A new Web site, www.WanglerHardware.com, will be unveiled in early January.

“By letting them handle our marketing work, we have more time to focus on serving our customers,” said Mike Minor, who owns the store with his wife Patti. “It lets us do what we love, and we’re looking forward to seeing the results of our combined efforts.”

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