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Auction company is sold

AAPT Realty Auctioneers has been acquired by a Louisiana real estate auction company that is pioneering a national telephone bidding system, company officials said Tuesday.

Daye Inc. of Baton Rouge bought the Hernando firm, which was owned by prominent auctioneers Walt Driggers III and Hellen King and operated in Citrus County for 17 years.

"This takes our business to the next level," Driggers said Tuesday.

Jere Daye, founder of Daye Inc., said the privately held company purchased AAPT for an undisclosed amount of stock and other considerations. He said his company bought AAPT to obtain Driggers' and Kings' auctioneering expertise, which his company hopes will strengthen its competitive position as the auction business is consolidated in larger auction houses nationwide.

Driggers and King will join the firm's board of directors.

"Walter and Hellen are highly esteemed in this business. We felt they could handle customers of national scope," Daye said. Those customers include multimillion-dollar portfolios by lenders and other large institutions.

Driggers said AAPT Realty will become an office for Daye Inc. They will probably move the office somewhere else in the county in July. Driggers and King still will be available to service local customers and smaller accounts for a time. But their focus will become larger, institutional accounts.

"I'm not sure what will happen to our local customers," said Driggers. "We will probably be selling our mailing lists."

Driggers and King have conducted real estate auctions for eight years. During that time, they sold several properties for more than $1-million.

Driggers is the president-elect of the Florida Auctioneers Association, and King is a member of the Certified Auctioneers Institute Board of Governors.

Driggers said four auction house companies had sought to buy AAPT Realty Auctioneers in the past nine months. He said he and King went with Daye Inc. because they were on the cutting edge technologically and offered the right deal.

By joining forces, the Hernando office will participate in a new automated bidding system that Daye Inc. has developed and is introducing nationally next month.

The system will allow investors to bid on properties all over the country from a telephone. If a participant is overbid, the computerized system will call back and inform the bidder of the new price. The person can then decide if he wants to stay in the game.

"Someone can place a bid in New York, fly to Los Angeles and continue the bidding there," said Daye. "There's nothing like this in the world."

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