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for whom the buell tolls

The manufacturing assets of bankrupt US superbike producer Erik Buell Racing (EBR) were finally sold off at an auction on 13 January for about $2m. The buyer was Liquid Asset Partners, a Michigan-based company that trades in machinery, equipment and parts inventory from defunct engineering businesses.

This was the third attempt to dispose of EBR’s forlorn remains. At an initial auction early last autumn, the successful bidder was Bruce Belfer, who agreed to acquire the assets package for $2.25m and intended to relaunch EBR as a going concern making motorcycles, with the involvement of eponymous company founder Erik Buell.

However, Belfer failed to meet a payment deadline, because he couldn’t get the necessary finance in place. Wisconsin’s Walworth County Circuit Judge Phillip Koss, who was overseeing EBR bankruptcy proceedings, then ordered a second auction to take place on 10 December. On this occasion, the sole bidder was Liquid Asset Partners with an offer of $1.6m.

But a number of interested parties, including Belfer, complained to court-appointed receiver Michael Polsky that they hadn’t had enough time to prepare challenging bids. When Polsky reported this to Judge Koss, he declined to approve the purchase and ordered yet another auction.

This time, the result is likely to stick. Polsky says the increased bid is in excess of the liquidation value of the assets and he believes that the proposed sale is in the best interest of all creditors. So once Koss has ratified the latest Liquid Asset Partners offer, any hope an EBR revival will vanish.



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