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Value America finds a white knight

Merisel, a technology products distributor, agrees to buy the assets of the company, which filed for bankruptcy protection in August.

A technology products distributor has agreed to buy the assets of Value America, a company that filed for bankruptcy protection in August.

Under the proposed deal with Merisel, Value America would continue to operate out of its Charlottesville, Va., offices as part of an online fulfillment operation that the El Segundo, Calif.-based distributor plans to launch next year, Value America representatives said.

"Two months ago we said we were on a 60-day schedule to locate an investor or acquirer for this business," Value America chief executive Glenda Dorchak said. "We are pleased this development meets the schedule we set for ourselves, and hope to be able to close the transaction in early November.

"Merisel has indicated that it will retain most of the Value America employees involved in the development and operation of our e-fulfillment business," Dorchak said.

For the last year, Value America has been the poster child for the dashed ambitions of online retailers. The company suffered through management turmoil, layoffs and several revisions of its Web site and business plan before filing for bankruptcy.

Under the terms of the deal, which has been approved by Value America's creditors, Merisel would acquire Value America employees and its computer systems, Value America representatives said. Value America declined to say how much Merisel would pay for the assets.

The agreement must still be approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia, where Value America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company filed a motion for the approval of the sale Friday, it said.

Merisel representatives did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment.