Maurice Lennell Cooky Co., Norridge, Ill., retained Equity Partners Inc. to find a buyer for its specialty bakery business. A combination of the pending sale of its building and the acquisition of its bank prompted the business, owned by the Cohen family, to seek a buyer under the protection of Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
Founded in 1937, Maurice Lenell operates a 58,000-sq.-ft. kosher plant northwest of Chicago. It produces many cookie flavors and package sizes to service all segments of the retail and corporate-gift industries. As 50 percent to 60 percent of the company's sales occur seasonally during year-end holidays, its working capital needs also are seasonal. While the previous lenders were accustomed to this, the sale to the new bank involved new lenders, and their policies along with the pending sale of the building, required a different loan structure.
Thus, the Cohen family decided the company and its customers are best served by a new owner.
“This is an excellent opportunity to acquire a profitable business with a branded product, existing customer base and tremendous growth potential. In addition to its retail channel, there is ample opportunity for expansion in the corporate gift and premium incentive markets, as well as in the fundraising industry,” said Ken Mann, a partner at Equity Partners Inc., Easton, Md.