Instant Brands Inc., the maker of Instant Pot and Pyrex kitchenware, will solicit offers to sell the business in bankruptcy. It is also considering alternative transactions to restructure more than $500 million in debt on its balance sheet, a company lawyer said late June 13.
Instant Brands lawyer Brian Resnick said during a virtual court hearing that company advisers will explore both options as the company tries to figure out how to get out of Chapter 11. The company, which private equity firm Cornell Capital owns, could use Chapter 11 to restructure its balance sheet if it can find an investor to fund a Chapter 11 plan. A buyer could purchase Instant Brands’ assets or lenders could take over the business in exchange for debt relief, Resnick said.
“All those options are on the table,” he said.
Instant Brands bankruptcy
The retailer wants parties to submit indications of interest by July 27 and is targeting an Aug. 23 bid deadline, according to a slide show company lawyers played during the June 13 hearing. In the meantime, Instant Brands will continue operating its business as normal, Resnick said.
The company already cleared an initial hurdle in its Chapter 11. It won court approval for a roughly $133 million Chapter 11 financing to fund the business and keep its factories running during bankruptcy. The structure is “somewhat unusual,” Instant Brands lawyer David Schiff said, necessitated by a complex debt deal the business used to raise new money early this year.
Instant Brands performed a so-called drop-down transaction in January in which the company transferred to two new subsidiaries its manufacturing facilities in New York and Pennsylvania, equipment and other property. The move allowed the company to get more liquidity but trading prices for its debt fell. Beginning in the second quarter, Instant Brands vendors and suppliers shortened payment terms which further stressed the business, the company said in a court filing.
Saving money from bankruptcy
Instant Brands joins a handful of other companies that executed similar transactions before ultimately ending up in Chapter 11. Others include Serta Simmons Bedding and aerospace supplier Incora.
Schiff said June 13 that Instant Brands’ lenders would only provide Chapter 11 financing if they know “they have a clear first lien with no possibilities of obligations springing back that could come ahead of them.” The company said it was in desperate need of funding to continue operating the business in bankruptcy.
Matthew Roose, a lawyer representing a group of Instant Brands lenders, said the Chapter 11 financing addresses the fact that the manufacturing facilities and other assets that were moved to the new subsidiaries were the lenders’ collateral. Company lenders include Pacific Investment Management Company and AGL Credit Management LP, according to a June 13 court filing.
Judge David R. Jones said he’d give Instant Brands initial approval of the bankruptcy financing. He said he was satisfied the arrangement wasn’t intended to give a particular group of company creditors an unfair edge in the case.
Instant Brands filed Chapter 11 on June 12. It blamed the bankruptcy on a confluence of negative events including:
- High interest rates
- Waning demand for Instant Pots following a boom during the start of the pandemic
- Desire by more consumers to go out to eat when COVID-19 pandemic restrictions eased
Corelle Brands manufactures and sells well-known kitchen gear brands including:
- Chicago Cutlery
Corelle Brands ranks No. 638 in the Top 1000. The database is Digital Commerce 360’s ranking of the largest North American online retailers by web sales.
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