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Maurice Files Bankruptcy; Selling Assets to Middleton Partners

Maurice Sporting Goods filed for Chapter 11 Voluntary Bankruptcy on Nov. 20, 2017. One of the largest fishing tackle distributors in North America has been struggling in the wake of several ripples through the sporting goods industry and consolidation moves made internally. The bankruptcy has been said to be a move to help streamline the acquisition of the distributor and its owned debtors: Danielson Outdoors Company, Inc., South Bend Sporting Goods, Inc. and Triple Crown Holdings, Inc. which owns Matzuo America, Inc by Middleton Partners, a private investment firm with deep experience investing in distribution and consumer products businesses based in Northbrook, Ill. 

Reading through the court documents, there are more than 17,000 creditors listed. The top 30 listed based on outstanding balances were as follows:

The top 30 unsecured creditors were listed as follows:

  1. Rivers Edge, Saint Clair, Mo., $5.45 million
  2. First Source (Signet Products), Hong Kong, $5.2 million
  3. Yuan Huang, Taiwan, $3.1 million
  4. HKM International, Hong Kong, $1.9 million
  5. Normark, Ontario, Canada, $1.47 million
  6. Shandong Welhai, Walhai Shandong, China, $1.46 million
  7. Shimano/Innovative Textiles, Irvine, Calif., $991,000
  8. Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, Page, Ariz. $967,000
  9. Thermacell Repellents, Bedford, Ma. $929,000
  10. Scott Plastics, Sidney, BC, $898,000
  11. Pautkze Bait Co., $839,000
  12. Z-Man Fishing Products, Ladson, S.C., $820,000
  13. Gamakatsu, Tacoma, Wash., $814,000
  14. Panther Martin, Port Jefferson, N.Y. $814,000
  15. Zoom Bait Co,. Bogart, Ga., $793,000
  16. Sheldons’ Inc., Antigo, Wisc., $771,000
  17. Uncle Josh Bait Company, Fort Atkinson, Wisc., $747,000
  18. Mahco, Bentonville, Ark., $741,000
  19. Pure Fishing US, Columbia, S.C., $737,000
  20. Pure Fishing Canada (Berkely), Brantford, Ontario, $722,000
  21. Great American Products, New Braunfels, Texas, $711,000
  22. Leland Lures, Searcy, Ark., $691,889
  23. Blakemore Sales Corporation, Wetumpka, Ala., $649,000
  24. AVW Inc. dba Max Professional , Margate, Fla., $649.000
  25. Atlas-Mike’s Salmon Eggs, Fort Atkinson, Wisc., $610,000
  26. Aminco International, Lake Forest, Calif., $579,000
  27. Gibbs-Delta Industries Canada, Delta, BC, $571,000
  28. Mustad & Son, Doral, Fla., $567,000
  29. Orient Bag Manufacturer Co Ltd., Fujian Province, China, $541,000
  30. Rapala USA, Minnetonka, Minn., $539,000

“We are extremely pleased that Middleton Partners is going to purchase Maurice’s assets and continue our strategic vision and customer and vendor relationships,” said Jory Katlin, Maurice President and Chief Executive Officer. “It has been a challenging couple of years, I am excited we have found the right partner to strengthen the Company’s balance sheet and unleash new funding to fuel future growth.”

This asset sale follows significant measures the Company has taken during the past two years to address liquidity concerns, including reducing operating costs, divesting non-core assets and improving processes.  The Chapter 11 reorganization and sale process will have no impact on the Company’s daily operations or its ability to fulfill its obligations to customers and employees.

“Acquiring the assets of Maurice aligns with our investment mission of investing in high potential companies that need a financial and strategic partner to achieve their objectives,” said Keith Jaffee, a principal at Middleton Partners.

In addition to the availability of cash from ongoing operations, Maurice also announced it has received a commitment for up to $20 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing from its bank group led by Bank of Montreal.  The DIP financing will be used to maintain uninterrupted service and delivery of products to Maurice customers during the completion of the sale transaction, and to ensure payment to vendors for post-petition purchases in the ordinary course.

If you want to read through the court documents, you can find them here

Good synopsis of what is going on with this fishing tackle distribution shake up was on

You can find more information on as well. 

You can read Maurice’s press release at