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Originally published Friday, August 5, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Oregon's Harry & David decides to go public again

Harry and David are heading to Wall Street. Harry & David Holdings, the Medford, Ore.-based purveyors of fruit baskets, roses and other...

Seattle Times business reporter

Harry and David are heading to Wall Street.

Harry & David Holdings, the Medford, Ore.-based purveyors of fruit baskets, roses and other horticultural gifts, filed yesterday to raise up to $125 million in an initial public offering of stock.

The business, formerly known as Bear Creek Holdings, dates from 1934. It was a publicly traded company from 1976 to 1984, when RJR Nabisco bought it. Harry & David has passed through several hands since then; since June 2004 it has been owned by two investment firms, Wasserstein Partners of New York and Highfields Capital Management of Boston.

In the fiscal year ended March 28, Harry & David lost $3.9 million on sales of $561.8 million, mainly due to higher interest expenses related to Wasserstein and Highfields' acquisition of the company. Sales were up 7.6 percent, however, and operating income nearly doubled.

Most of the cash to be raised in the IPO will go to pay down the company's $245 million in long-term debt.

Details of the IPO, including the number of shares to be sold and the offering price, will come in later filings.

The company did say, however, that it expects to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol HND.

Drew DeSilver: 206-464-3145 or ddesilver@seattletimes.com

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