Handy Hardware could have a new owner by summer. The Houston-based dealer-owned co-op told members April 24 that Greenwich, Conn.-based Littlejohn & Co. plans to purchase the company, pending court approval. The change will transfer company ownership from its 1,250 members to Littlejohn while eliminating the co-op's current 2% warehouse service fee. As part of the agreement, Littlejohn will provide $4 million in cash to fund Handy Hardware's operations until the deal's likely close in July.

Handy Hardware filed for Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection in January, two months after it closed its Meridian, Miss., distribution center. In its January Ch. 11 filing, the company valued its debt and assets at $50 million to $100 million.

On its website, Littlejohn lists 14 portfolio companies including hardware supplier Howard Berger Co., Cranbury, N.J., and building-material installer Installed Building Products, Columbus, OH.