Florida Sunshine Goes After Appco

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Florida Sunshine Goes After Appco

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -- Florida Sunshine Investments is slated to acquire the bankrupt Appalachian Oil Co. (Appco) convenience store chain, in a one-two punch that saw the investment firm put in the winning bid for Appco’s sister company, convenience store operator Crescent Oil Co., less than two weeks ago.

Florida Investments hopes to close next week on the $6.25 million deal, plus cost of inventory, for the 47-unit chain, according to a statement by NRC Realty & Capital Advisors, the firm handling the Appco sale under direction of the bankruptcy court. The deal would also safeguard the jobs of the employees at the 47 company-owned convenience stores.

Appco’s bankruptcy attorney, Mark Dessauer, filed a motion late Tuesday asking for the sale’s approval, calling the offer "the highest and best bid for the assets of (Appco)," according to the statement. Florida Sunshine Investments’ bid is subject to Judge Marsha Parsons’ approval. Appco asked that Parsons hear the motion Sept. 1. If the deal is heard and approved that day, the transaction could close that day, or Sept. 4, at the latest, Tracey Bleeden, vice president of marketing for NRC, told CSNews Online.

Appco’s Chief Restructuring Officer, Andy Weber, who was appointed by the court in April 14 to sell the company, called the retention of the roughly 350 employees a "big plus and a priority," in a statement. Weber, who is also a senior vice president at NRC, added: "Throughout the sale there have been multiple, week-to-week twists and turns. Drawing on NRC’s expertise in handling divestitures of distressed assets has allowed us to continue operations to reach a successful exit on behalf of the creditors."

According to published reports on TimesNews.net, Florida Sunshine Investments made the offer on Appco after another bidder, Empire Petroleum Holdings of Rockville, Md., lowered its initial $9.1 million bid to $5.5 million. Empire dropped its bid after it discovered through due diligence Appco’s financial information was unacceptable, the report stated. At that time, Empire agreed that Appco could seek other offers and accept any that exceeded Empire’s bid by 5 percent or more, and Florida Sunshine’s bid is roughly 14 percent higher, but Empire has an opportunity to make a counter offer, according to a court motion cited by the paper. Bleeden declined to comment on Empire Petroleum’s bid when contacted by CSNews Online.

Less than two weeks ago, Florida Sunshine and Jeff Greene submitted a winning bid for substantially all of bankrupt Crescent Oil's assets, the sister company to Appco under Titan Global Holdings, and on Aug. 14, the court overseeing the Chapter 11 case approved the sale, CSNews Online previously reported. The transaction for the assets, which include convenience stores and are located in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, is expected to close on or before Sept. 4.

Related News:

Crescent Oil Acquired by Florida Sunshine Investments

On the Block: An Insider's View of Selling a Chain