The American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) and the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) have announced the joint signing of a letter of intent to merge. Signing the letter of intent allows the merger evaluation to advance to due diligence work, legal review and further detailed design of a single national trade association. Final approval of a merger requires a second positive vote by both boards of directors, followed by approval from the PLANET membership and a second positive vote by the ANLA Senate, with membership support.
ANLA former president Peter Orum, Midwest Groundcovers (Ill.) signed the Letter of Intent at ANLA’s Annual Meeting (before the presidency was taken over by current ANLA President Buzz Bertolero, Navlet’s Garden Centers (Ca.), following a unanimous vote of approval by ANLA’s Senate. Concurrently, during its Summer Leadership Meeting in Washington, D.C., the PLANET board agreed to do the same. These actions followed receipt of an interim report from the ANLA-PLANET Merger Task Force. According to the report, “the associations’ boards of directors have determined that the potential benefits of merging
PLANET and ANLA into a new national trade association for the 21st Century are sufficient to warrant a full-scale evaluation of that merger.”
Timelines for the continued evaluation process are being revised, but a final vote of the ANLA Senate and PLANET’s full membership is expected sometime in 2006. ANLA’s full membership will be contacted, prior to a vote, to provide feedback to their senators. PLANET’s membership vote will follow the completion of the task force’s work and a recommendation from the PLANET Board of Directors. The actual merger, if approved by both organizations would likely occur in late 2006.
Combining PLANET and ANLA would result in a national association with annual revenues of more than $9 million, a staff of 48, a resource base that is larger than about 75 percent of all trade associations in the United States, and combined membership of more than 6,000, according to ANLA. The current memberships of the two associations are largely based in different sectors of the green industry. The merged association would represent business interests involved in the full spectrum of the industry, including agricultural nursery production, wholesale distribution, retail garden centers, landscape design and installation, lawn care, maintenance and interior plantscape services.
Initial discussions have identified merger benefits to include a larger member and financial resource base, a broader platform for delivering more educational and business services, expanded public outreach, and more political influence.