Flower delivery company FTD files for bankruptcy

Key Points
  • Flower delivery company FTD announces Monday it has filed for bankruptcy.
  • FTD had loaded on about $200 million in debt to pay for its 2014 acquisition of rival ProFlowers.
  • It has never fully integrated the deal, and new threats, such as Amazon, have popped up.
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FTD Companies said Monday it has filed for bankruptcy, succumbing to about $200 million in debt the flower and gift delivery company took on to buy ProFlowers in 2014. Buying its rival was a move it had hoped would fend off industry change.

At the time of the deal, ProFlowers directly sourced its flowers, allowing it to offer similar products for less. Seeing the new model as a threat, FTD acquired ProFlowers. But FTD was unable to fully integrate the two companies. Its goals of consolidated technological investments and combining business and marketing teams never fully came to fruition.

After the deal, sales began to slip. Sales in its florist business fell by 1% in 2016 over the prior year. By 2017, that gap widened to 9%.

"While the Debtors struggled to unify their businesses and implement the Provide Acquisition, the floral industry — and consumer expectations — continued to evolve," CEO Scott Levin testified in documents filed Monday with the bankruptcy court.

New competitors popped up, and Amazon's Prime membership program put pressure on all retailers to offer quick delivery.

FTD said it has received commitments for up to about $94.5 million in debtor-possession financing to help fund its operations during bankruptcy.

It also said it has entered into a number of agreements to sell its businesses.

It has a deal to sell ProFlowers and the rest of its North America and Latin America business to an affiliate of private equity firm Nexus Capital for $95 million.

It also sold its Interflora U.K. business, which is not part of the Chapter 11 filing, to a subsidiary of The Wonderful Company for $59.5 million.

It has received interest from an unnamed strategic investor to acquire Personal Creations and from Edible Arrangements founder Tariq Farid to acquire Shari's Berries.

At the time of FTD's bankruptcy filing, it had roughly 872 full-time, part-time, hourly and salaried workers in North America.

The company said in a release Monday it will continue to support its network for florists as it carries out business as normal.

"The important actions we are taking today are designed to enable us to continue supporting our network of florists and business partners and serving consumers while we work to complete the initiatives coming out of our strategic review," Levin said in a statement.