Actava's Grass Looks Greener

The market may be in a downdraft, but expect the languishing Actava Group to perk up, now that entrepreneur John Phillips has won control of the Atlanta-based sporting-goods and lawn-care company. He was named president and CEO in a corporate battle that ended on Apr. 19. The stock jumped to 9, up from 6 just three days before Phillips' election.

Previously called Fuqua Industries, Actava posted a loss last year of $47.5 million, or $2.52 a share, on revenues of $1.2 billion. Phillips, whose group purchased 700,000 shares in the company for $4.4 million, or 63/8 a share, plus an option to buy an additional 300,000 shares, now owns 6% of Actava.

"Our goal is to rejuvenate the company and quickly boost shareholder value," says Phillips. He plans to integrate Actava's sporting-goods, fitness-and-recreation, and camping-equipment businesses into one group and then take it public. Phillips says the underlying assets of the company are worth between $10 to $20 a share--if properly managed. Already, some companies are vying to buy some parts of Actava, such as the Qualex photofinishing unit, which is 49% owned by Eastman Kodak.

Phillips was the president and CEO of Resurgens Communications Group, a long-distance phone company later acquired by John Kluge's Metromedia Communication. With Phillips' background, Actava is expected to acquire a telecommunications company to get back into that industry.

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