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    FTD to Be Acquired for $420 Million

    NEW YORK - FTD Inc., one of the world's largest floral delivery services, on Monday said it will be acquired by a private equity fund in a deal worth about $420 million.

    NEW YORK - FTD Inc., one of the world's largest floral delivery services, on Monday said it will be acquired by a private equity fund in a deal worth about $420 million.

    Because its business entails little risk, analysts said FTD was an attractive acquisition target, despite losing market share in recent years to 1-800-Flowers and other rivals.

    The "inventory-less" nature of FTD's core products was an especially compelling aspect of the deal, according to Wall Street analysts, noting its service provider platform that links some 20,000 members and other retail locations across the U.S. and Canada.

    FTD stockholders will receive $24.85 per share in cash on the closing of the deal, expected by the first quarter of 2004. FTD's board and principal shareholders, who own about 72 percent of the company's common stock, have voted in favor of the deal.

    Robert Norton, FTD's c.e.o., will remain in that job following the merger, and will exchange a portion of his equity holdings in FTD for equity in the surviving company. Other members of FTD management will be offered the opportunity to participate in similar exchanges.

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