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Wolf Camera Buying Fox Photo

July 2, 1998

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (AP) _ Wolf Camera announced Wednesday plans to acquire Eastman Kodak’s 450-store Fox Photo chain, which will more than double the Georgia-based retailer’s size.

With 790 stores after purchase, Wolf nears the number of the nation’s largest specialty photo retailer, Ritz Camera Centers, a Beltsville, Md.-based company with about 810 stores.

Terms of the deal, expected to close in September, were not released.

But industry sources, characterizing the deal as a ``fire sale,″ expected a price tag far below Kodak’s $110 million stake, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

``We are focusing resources on only those activities that are essential to the business and offer the greatest potential for value creation,″ Jerry Johnson, Kodak’s vice president and general manager of consumer imaging for the United States and Canada, said of the company’s decision to sell Fox Photo.

Privately held Wolf does not disclose financial data, but industry estimates peg annual revenue at about $260 million. Revenue figures were not available for Fox Photo, but the typical mini-lab store similar to the Fox format generates about $250,000 in annual revenue, according to the Photo Marketing Association.

Fox Photo, which also operates stores under the names of CPI Photo and Proex, spans 25 states and Washington, D.C.

Wolf enters 19 new states and 50 cities with the Fox purchase, in addition to doubling or tripling its presence in several existing markets.

As many as 120 employees at Fox’s corporate headquarters in St. Louis may move to Alpharetta, said Chuck Wolf, the company’s chief executive.

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