BOONVILLE — The sale of spring water bottler Nirvana, Inc. was approved Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, in a move that is geared to keep the company in operation and retain its 70 jobs.
Alder Creek Beverages, LLC, will buy Nirvana for $5.74 million; the Alder Creek company was formed earlier this month before the acquisition, and includes local businesspeople. The names of its principals were not immediately available.
The court approval of the Alder Creek bid came at the end of a day-long auction proceeding.
Alder Creek Beverages can assume management of the Nirvana business “effective Monday pursuant to a management agreement,” pending completion of the sale, said Harold J. Bordwin, principal and managing director of Keen-Summit Capital Partners LLC, by email today. Keen-Summit is acting as a broker for the Nirvana sale. An outline of the management agreement was put on record in court, and “a more formal document will be negotiated, documented and filed soon,” Bordwin said.
Asked whether the Alder Creek buyer intends to continue running the Nirvana business and retain its 70 jobs, Bordwin said that is his understanding.
Bordwin also said it is his understanding that “Alder Creek is an entity that was formed for the purposes of this acquisition. The principals are local businesspeople who plan to invest in and turn around Nirvana Water.” He added “I do not believe that they have prior experience in this industry,” and he was not at liberty to disclose their names.
Articles of organization for Alder Creek Beverages LLC as a New York domestic limited liability company were filed on Nov. 3, according to online listings. Its mailing address is 1001 Broad St., Utica, the listings said.
Nirvana and three affiliates field for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June. Information submitted to the court estimated that both its assets and liabilities were between $10 million and $50 million. The company told the state Labor Department in August that it intended to lay off its 70 employees between Nov. 16-30.
Friday’s auction proceeding in court followed another court auction on Nov. 12 in which bids to buy Nirvana either as a going concern or on a piecemeal basis were rejected. The auction on Friday “evolved into a bidding war between a package bidder who intends to run the business, on the one hand, and a liquidator and a lender with a credit bid,” said Bordwin. Alder Creek was the package bidder that received court approval.
In the Nov. 12 auction, New Jersey-based SNG Beverage Group had submitted a $7.35 million purchase offer that was lowered to $6.25 million based on adjustments involving inventory and accounts receivable. But the proposal was not accepted by Nirvana or senior secured creditors due to its SNG’s requirement for certain conditions to be satisfied by Nirvana.
At Friday’s proceeding, four bidders were present and eight participated by conference call, said Bordwin. A number of them monitored the bidding but did not participate, he added.