Bankruptcy Asset Sales Progress

Uni-Mart "stalking horse" unveiled; Appco bids reveal a "tough sell"

Published in CSP Daily News

By  Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Content Development Coordinator

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. &BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. -- Movement on two of the industry's most recent bankruptcy proceedings have revealed a lead "stalking-horse" bidder in one and the completion of the bidding process for another.

Tri-Color Holdings LLC, the State College, Pa.-based majority owner of the 210-store Uni-Mart chain, won an early advantage by becoming the stalking-horse bidder (subject to court approval at press time), essentially giving the entity the right to top the highest bid as the process moves forward, Tom Kelso, managing director for Matrix Capital Markets Group LLC, the Richmond, Va.-firm in charge of the sale, told CSP Daily News.

Meanwhile, bids are in for the 47 sites under the Blountville, Tenn.-based Appalachian Oil Co. (Appco) bankruptcy, according to officials with the Chicago-based NRC Realty Advisors LLC, which is handling that bankruptcy process.

Speaking in general terms, Dennis Ruben, managing director with NRC, told CSP Daily News that these days, leased properties, like those in the Appco deal, are a tough sell, with most buyers being "more interested in buying land and not just a lease."

Specific to the Appco proceedings, Andy Weber, the court-appointed restructuring officer who also works for NRC told the Kingsport Times News that concessions by the lease owner and restructuring of the contracts helped pave the way for the sale process to continue.

The biggest question, Weber said, was whether the chain would be sold in a block or split into pieces. "We know we have strategic and financial buyers who are proposing on the entire business," he told the newspaper.

With regards to the Uni-Mart announcement, Tri-Color garnered stalking-horse status primarily for three reasons, according to Kelso of Matrix. First, the company put an offer in for all the property controlled by Uni-Marts, with the blanket bid being an attractive aspect of the proposal.

Second, the price was deemed a "good point from which to begin the bidding." Finally, Tri-Color offered to take the properties "as is," which relieves the owner of liabilities and obligations.

The bid deadline for the Uni-Mart properties is Thursday, August 13, with a live auction of qualified bidders to take place at the Hunton & Williams offices in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, August 18.

Court documents split Tri-Color's obligation to about $12 million for the chain's Ohio Uni-Mart assets and another $6 million for additional properties. Kelso said more information is posted on the company's website at www.matrixcapitalonline.com.

By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Content Development Coordinator
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