Category Archives: Case Studies

Clearwater Ice Arena

The Company

Clearwater Ice Arena

This company was a Clearwater, Florida based, 32,000 square foot, single sheet ice skating rink.

The Challenge

The owner of this facility originally purchased the business with the intention to lease it out to an attorney that he had dealt with in several other business ventures.  The attorney never followed up on paying the rent and had to be evicted.  It was then discovered the facility needed significant capital expenditures in order to be operational and was the owner was not able to keep up with the payments.  He filed CH. 11 to buy time to find a buyer or investor for the facility.

The Process

After a broad reaching marketing process, Equity Partners identified 30 interested prospects with 7 separate groups visiting the facility, and received offers from 5 of these groups.

The Solution

The owner moved forward with a transaction via a plan of reorganization that allowed him to continue operating the facility.

Coldwater Springs Bottling Company

The Company

Coldwater Springs Bottling Company

An Alabama-based 20 year old bottling plant that was no longer operating.

The Challenge

After operating for over 20 years and developing a broad customer base, the ownership of Coldwater Springs Bottling Company made the decision to shut down the plant after losing several key accounts. A few months after shutting down the facility, Equity Partners was retained to look for a possible acquisition of the plant.

The Process

Equity Partners quickly ramped up and ran an international marketing campaign, ensuring no stone was left unturned. Shortly after being retained, we had over 100 groups looking at the facility as a possible acquisition and were able to quickly move to a closing.

The Solution

Several offers were made to acquire both the equipment and facility. Ultimately, a very lively auction was held that resulted in the sale of the building and equipment to Lasco Limited, a Jamaica-based manufacturing company.

CommX, LLC

The Company

CommX, LLC

This Tampa-based VOIP provider had been part of a private equity group’s larger acquisition plan less than a year earlier, but was losing customers and money.

The Challenge

The company no longer fit the long term plans of the ownership group and its interim CEO retained Equity Partners to market and sell the asset. Given the distress, a competitive process was needed to force bidders to pay reasonable multiples of recurring monthly revenue or number of subscribers.

The Process

A quick but extensive marketing process was conducted by Equity Partners, offering the company as an entirety, or broken into specific regions by geography. Equity Partners generated multiple offers for the company.

The Solution

After several rounds of negotiations and further bidding, an offer was selected, a sale was completed, employees were retained, and operations continued.

Cormark, Inc.

The Company

Cormark, Inc.

A Chicago-based retail display and fixturing company that had been hit hard by multiple customers cutting orders within a few months of each other.

The Challenge

The company had seen a significant drop off in sales and was in technical default with their lender. With only 3 weeks remaining under the current forbearance agreement, Equity Partners was retained.

The Process

The secured creditor agreed to extend the forbearance agreement and continue funding operations for 30 days to allow Equity Partners to complete their marketing process.

The Solution

Equity Partners quickly generated significant interest in the company and was proceeding towards a sale. During this time, the Chinese operations of the company shut down, creating a major hurdle to customer supply. Interest waned and the company was close to liquidation when Equity Partners successfully negotiated a stalking horse offer from 3 going concern bidders. The value of the bid far exceeded any liquidation estimate and we closed the transaction without a single day of interruption, saving the company from what appeared to be an inevitable shutdown and liquidation.

Cosmos Granite and Marble Central

The Client

Cosmos Granite and Marble Central

This Midwest division of a larger family-owned business had branches in Chicago and St. Louis and was undergoing a partnership dispute and a recent decline in sales.

The Challenge

Sales had dropped by 20% and the value of the business was declining rapidly. Litigation had already led to a breakup of the parent entity and, due to financial limitations, the manager of this division could not buy the division on his own.

The Process

The business was put into a Receivership and Equity Partners was hired by the Receiver and immediately went to market looking for a buyer for the division. Within 45 days, EP created sufficient interest to hold a lively auction for the business. Four buyers participated in the auction.

The Solution

Equity Partners ran an auction of going concern bidders and, following 16 rounds of bids, the business was sold for nearly two times the original bid. The secured debt was paid in full, most liabilities were assumed, and the business continues to operate today.

Costrotta Construction Management, Inc.

The Client

Costrotta Construction Management, Inc.

A New Jersey-based full turn-key construction, site acquisition, staffing, technical services, in-building, DAS and project management company for the wireless and fiber industries.

The Challenge

The existing secured lender had gone through a series of forbearance agreements and was restricting the company’s access to capital. Because much of its collateral was made up of “completed not billed” work, most lenders would have no interest.

The Process

With the company lacking capital for continued business growth, they retained Equity Partners to find a new source of financing to allow the company to continue growing, once properly capitalized. Equity Partners placed a CPA consultant within the company to run diligence and work with the secured lender throughout the process. We launched an intense international campaign seeking refinancing for the company, as well as potential merger partners.

The Solution

Through our involvement we were able to hand hold the secured lender and ensure they provided the company with the capital needed to continue operations.  We were able to restructure over $6 million in liabilities off of the company’s balance sheet, re-finance the secured debt and preserve ownership’s equity stake in the business.

Creative Foods LLC

The Company

Creative Foods LLC

This company was 60 year old Arkansas based food manufacturer and processor.

The Challenge

Due to the loss of a major customer and a significant portion of sales revenue, the company was forced into Chapter 11.

The Process

Equity Partners quickly generated 5 going concern bids, the value of which exceeded any liquidation estimate, and by creating a competitive environment, successfully increased the purchase price by almost $4,000,000 at the sale auction.

The Solution

The business was sold to a buyer that was familiar with the company, and operations continued with minimal disruption.

Creative Loafing

The Company

Creative Loafing

Alternative urban newspaper operating in bankruptcy.

The Challenge

A private equity lender wanted to foreclose or credit bid to gain possession of its collateral.   The long time ownership group had fostered a grassroots campaign to support the ownership as the best buyer for the assets based on a “public interest” argument, and by demonizing the lender.  The lender, meanwhile, could not trust any process run by the debtor.   The dispute raged on and the Court suggested that Equity Partners be retained as an independent “bid examiner” to ensure the process was fair, to evaluate the various components of competing bids, to help conduct the final auction, and to make a recommendation to the Court.

The Process

Equity Partners oversaw the distribution of diligence, listened to ownership’s arguments about value they added through favorable leases and other consideration, leveled the playing field for bidding purposes, and conducted the auction.

The Solution

Based on our oversight of the process, the lender was able to successfully credit bid in a manner that made clear they were the highest and best offer.  Equity Partners recommended the Court approve the sale to the secured creditor, which it did.


Crescent & Sprague Supply Co., Inc.

The Company

Crescent & Sprague Supply Co., Inc.

Marietta, OH based, 119 year old, wholesale and industrial distributor of electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and waterworks supplies.

The Challenge

The Company’s current asset based lender arrangement was not adequate to enough to allow them to fulfill purchase orders on hand, which created significant revenue deterioration and cash flow constraints, forcing them to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to give them time to secure a new lender or sell the company.

The Process

Equity Partners gained agreement from their lender to continue to finance operations while conducting a comprehensive marketing process, which resulted in a wide range of potential lenders, investors, and buyers conducting due diligence, and an offer to purchase the Company.

The Solution

Equity Partners continued to negotiate with three different secured lenders and the   buyer, improving the offer enough to gain approval from all parties-in-interest and obtaining  approval by the court.  Upon closing, the buyer continued to operate the Company as a going concern and kept a majority of the staff of 37 employed with a recovery to creditors far batter than liquidating the assets.

Crown Operations International, Ltd.

The Company

Crown Operations International, Ltd.

A Wisconsin-based prelaminater and converter of interlayers of PVB and anti-solar film for the automotive and architectural glass markets. was in receivership and had gone through an extensive marketing process already.

The Challenge

Royko Enterprises’ process had generated 40 interested groups, and an offer, for which the receiver sought court approval. However, when the shareholder filed for personal bankruptcy, he prevented the sale and raised issues about the efficacy of the marketing process.  The shareholder requested, and the bankruptcy court recommended, that Equity Partners be retained to supplement the Royko process to ensure that value was maximized.

The Process

The receiver retained Equity Partners and scheduled an auction for 30 days out.  The firms worked together, and Equity Partners supplemented the process with print advertising, internet ads with trade publications, contact with more strategic buyers, and contact with its own database of distressed company buyers.  In 3 weeks, 64 additional groups executed confidentiality agreements, and an additional bidder was generated.

The Solution

An auction was held, producing a backup bidder and a price increase, a sale to the original buyer was approved by the state court, and closing occurred shortly thereafter.