Nonprofit Direct Marketing Firm Barton-Cotton Files for Chapter 7
Daily Record, Feb. 10, 2009 — The future of Barton-Cotton Inc., a Columbia-based direct marketer specializing in the nonprofit industry, remains uncertain after the 80-year-old firm filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Monday.
Barton-Cotton did not provide a detailed breakout of the number of creditors or exact amounts owed in any of the filings. The company filed papers for four entities: Barton-Cotton Holding Corp.; Barton-Cotton Inc.; Barton-Cotton Real Estate Inc.; and Barton-Cotton Sales Corp.
The Barton-Cotton Holding Corp. and Barton-Cotton Sales Corp. each reported having less than $50,000 in assets with liabilities ranging from $50 million to $100 million. Barton-Cotton Real Estate Inc. reported assets less than $10 million with liabilities estimated between $100 million and $500 million. Barton-Cotton Inc. reported assets under $50 million with liabilities between $50 million and $100 million.
In the wake of the bankruptcy, the fate of Barton-Cotton’s more than 200 employees remains unclear. The company’s Patuxent Woods Drive headquarters in Columbia was locked with the lights off on Tuesday afternoon.
The majority owner of Barton-Cotton is Bethesda-based American Capital Ltd. The buyout firm bought 83 percent of Barton-Cotton in April 2006 for $144 million.
And, while Barton-Cotton showed up on American Capital’s online list of portfolio companies earlier in the day Tuesday, by the time the market closed it had been removed.
Interim Barton-Cotton CEO Bret Bero, who is also American Capital’s vice president on the operations team, declined to comment if the company had been closed.
Calls to American Capital were not returned.
The Nonprofit Times, a trade publication, reported on Monday that Barton-Cotton had lost a major client in recent weeks and had also taken a big hit on a contract where it guaranteed returns.
Barton-Cotton works with nonprofits to increase fundraising through direct marketing such as ad campaigns, telemarketing and direct mail. The company says on its Web site that it has worked with more than 150 notable nonprofits including the American Humane Association, the American Kennel Club, the United States Equestrian Federation and the National Audubon Society.