Thursday, May 1, 2014

Calumet Photographic bankruptcy update: Next date for motions scheduled for May 13th

Calumet Photographic Logo, courtesy of Calumet Photographic
I've been reporting on Calumet Photographic's bankruptcy for some time now.

On March 12th Calumet Photographic, the US based photography store chain filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and closed all their US locations. The Calumet stores in the United Kingdom, and elsewhere in Europe, being financially separate entities from the US company, were unaffected by the US bankruptcy.

Many US Calumet customers, caught by surprise by the bankruptcy, were holding photography gear rented from the company, unable to return it, prepaid orders, and store credits, gift cards, etc.

As per court papers filed April 7, 2014 in Calumet’s bankruptcy case, a new company, CalPhotoUS LLC formed by former owners of Calumet Photographic, has offered $2,825,000 to acquire some, but not all inventory, store leases and other assets.

Currently it appears as though only the former Calumet stores in Oak Brook, Illinois, Chicago (Goose Island), Illinois (Bliss Street and Cherry Street), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, San Francisco, California and Washington, DC. are part of the acquisition. The Cambridge, Massachusetts store, previously thought to be a potential part of the deal, has now apparently been struck off it. The Cambridge store, along with the other Calumet stores, not listed in the acquisition proposal motion to the court, have been liquidating their inventory for the past couple of weeks. That liquidation is still continuing.

April 29 was the earliest hearing date at which time the CalPhoto acquisition proposal could be decided by the bankruptcy court. That date has come and gone.

Today, in a review of the court calendar of Judge Eugene R. Wedoff, of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, who is hearing the Calumet Photographic bankruptcy case, I found that, at this time, the next scheduled hearing date for Calumet isn't until Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 10am.

According to the motions list, it doesn't appear that Judge Wedoff will be deciding anything about the proposed acquisition at that time. Other motions concerning the Calumet bankruptcy are scheduled to be heard at that time.


Peter - Pittsburgh said...

Wow, I thought this would have been over once we got to May with the acquisition. What do you think happened?

Ned S. Levi said...

I suspect, and have no proof of this at all, that the judge isn't thrilled that the people wishing to buy about half of the company are the same people who ran the company to the breaking point to Chapter 7. I think he's asking himself why not Chapter 11, and why reward the very people who have hurt their customers, employees and suppliers, by letting them off the hook this easily. I believe that if it had been a group of outside investors, the sale would have already been consummated. That said, I believe the acquisition is still the likely outcome because it maximizes what the creditors can get; close to $3M vs. about $100K max.

Only time will tell. For the customers and employees of Calumet, I'm hoping that a hearing specific to the acquisition motion is put on the court calendar, sooner than later.

Anonymous said...

Well, I can tell you, being a former Calumet (and Ritz) employee, that it would be extremely unwise to hire the same corporate executives that ran Calumet and Ritz. It so happens that a former Ritz exec was hired as regional manager of Calumet. He really knew nothing about the industry and had a few short comings as far as social etiquette and how he treated his employees. And as a poor judge in character, he brought in some of the worst former Ritz employees to work at Calumet. His partner in crime, also a former Ritz exec, took over as president ( Taking care of their workers was not in their best interest. Before them, was an account executive that knew nothing of the industry and hired top level positions within friends and family. And those people were severely unqualified. Let's hope that C&A (who just purchased Calumet) puts the RIGHT people in position. CalPhotoUS doesn't need to own this market anymore. In addition, the arrogance and drama that lies within that group is part of the problem that led to Calumet's demise. Let's hope the judge realizes this.

Ned S. Levi said...

Thanks for your insight. It turns out that no one needs to worry about the former principals of Calumet acquiring the company.

New Jersey company, C&A Marketing Inc. outbid the proposal of CalPhotoUS with a bid of close to $4M.

For more details see my article: Calumet Photographic acquired by C&A Marketing Inc.

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