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Tampa Business & Commercial Law Blog

Chapter 11 versus other bankruptcy types

Bankruptcy is a daunting consideration for any person or business, and understanding the types of bankruptcy that apply to a given situation is one of the first steps in moving forward with financial recovery or reorganization. For Florida businesses, Chapter 11 is one of the most pertinent forms of bankruptcy, but for individuals who own a business but also have personal finances at stake, Chapter 7 or 13 may also be relevant.

According to the United States Bankruptcy Court Middle District of Florida, Chapter 11 bankruptcy is for entities that don't qualify for Chapter 13 filing. In most cases, that includes partnership businesses and corporations but can also include some individuals.

Florida-based Red Lobster owner sells restaurant chain

For businesses in Florida and across the nation, restructuring assets and liabilities is often a first step in creating a foundation for future success. Corporate restructuring doesn't always mean a business is in financial or other trouble; it can be a sign that a company is streamlining operations or seeking better opportunities. According to a statement from Florida-based Darden Restaurants, Inc., the closing of a recent business sale is just such a sign for the company.

Darden reportedly closed on a deal to sell its Red Lobster business, which is 45 years old, to a private equity firm. The firm, Golden Gate Capital, purchased both liabilities and assets of the Red Lobster business for a reported $2.1 billion. Unlike many company purchases, which are closed based on credit or stock transfers, the purchase of Darden's Red Lobster-related assets and liabilities was done with cash.

Florida condo owners stave off foreclosure with bankruptcy

There are many reasons money becomes tight whether you're running a single household in Florida or a business. For businesses, Chapter 11 bankruptcy can offer some relief from financial issues, though there are tradeoffs to be made in filing for bankruptcy.

One business filed for Chapter 11 on July 21. The business, Lauren Enterprises, is managed by two members. The members, along with the business, were involved in a foreclosure judgement. According to reports, PNC Bank won the judgement against the business and its members for $7 million.

Merger talks end following opposition from multiple sources

Businesses across the world consider mergers and acquisitions as a way to expand resources to reach goals. When considering a merger or other action, it's important to understand whether the step would contribute to long-term interests for the business. It's also important to understand whether various entities within the business and the related community will support the merger or other action.

In the case of a merger considered by the Scripps Research Institute, support was apparently in contention once news got out about merger talks. The Institute had entered into a non-binding letter of intent with a major university regarding a merger. According to reports, the intent of the talks were to explore whether partnership would benefit both parties.

Trader Joe's facing business litigation for eliminating middleman

Trader Joe's, a grocery store popular in Florida and elsewhere, made a move to get rid of the middleman in its dairy operations. This rearranged the supply chain, much to the frustration of the vendors and brokers who were cut out. Two of those companies have recently started business litigation against the store on account of the changes.

The companies involved in the lawsuit are Dairy Smart, Inc. and Natural Dairy Products, LLC, which is also known by the acronym of NDP.

Tampa church to be sold for organizational reboot

Without Walls International Church has made a reputation for itself when it comes to doing good in the community. However, the Florida-based church has now reportedly hit bankruptcy since those who are in charge are in debt to the tune of millions of dollars. As a result, the two buildings that the church owns -- one is in Lakeland and one is in Tampa -- have to be sold to pay the debt. This is being done at the direct order of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Originally, there was supposed to be an auction for the property, which could have been used as a commercial property or turned into residential spaces. However, the pastor of the church recently put out a statement saying that an auction would not actually be taking place. He indicated that a buyer had already been selected. He also said that the money that they would get from that buyer would get rid of their debt. Finally, he stated that cash would be used when the church bought a new location.

Owners of multiple Five Guys put in Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing

In Florida, a company called ASCI Broward has filed for bankruptcy. This company employs around 120 people and works as a franchisee for the popular restaurant chain "Five Guys Burgers and Fries." They have seven different locations in the area.

By filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it is clear that they want to have a chance to reorganize and see if they can work past the financial problems that have come up. They do not want to shut things down entirely, so the employees could retain their jobs. Instead, restructuring will give them a chance to get out of debt and move forward.

Florida medical practice files for bankruptcy

In some cases, a business may file for bankruptcy after several years of trying to regain control of its finances have passed. In others, there may be an inciting incident that makes it impossible for the company to meet its financial obligations.

A Florida medical practice officially filed for bankruptcy on June 12 after it lost a judgment in a medical malpractice claim. South Florida Multispecialty Associates has 50 employees and operates offices in Aventura and Miami Beach.

Florida bank merger worth reported $43 million

A possible merger between Centennial Bank and Florida Traditions Bank has been proposed and is set to be voted on by shareholders on July 2. According to papers filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Florida Traditions has eight officers and assets worth approximately $312 million. The idea of the merger apparently took hold when the Florida market president for Centennial Bank met the chief executive officer of Florida Transitions Bank industry functions.

Talks reportedly began in the spring of 2013, when executives had a meeting to go over the possibilities. After Home BancShares -- the parent company for Centennial Bank -- finished another acquisition in the fall of 2013, talks resumed. In February, a nonbinding letter of intent was drafted that set forth that Home BancShares would pay $18 per share for Florida traditions in the form of stock in Home BancShares. The deal was amended to a price of $16.78 per share. The announcement of the reported $43 million agreement was made public on April 25.

Rum producer and distributor stuck in Florida court battle

Major Brands Inc. is a liquor wholesaler, and it has been embattled for some time now with Bacardi USA Inc. The two are dealing with a lawsuit that involves the contracts that are used for distribution practices in the state of Missouri. However, the latest appeal by Major Brands involves a ruling that was made in the case by a court in Florida.

The issue began in 2013, when Bacardi stopped using Major Brands as its distribution channel. Before that, the two had worked together for a number of decades, so they have a long history. Major Brands contested that this termination violated laws in Missouri about franchise contracts. They stated that Bacardi did not have just cause to fire them, and they said that that could be viewed as a breach of contract.

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