Anschutz Unit Wins Ambassadors Bankruptcy Auction With $39 Million Offer

A unit of billionaire Philip Anschutz’s Anschutz Corp. won a bankruptcy auction for virtually all the assets of Ambassadors International Inc. (AMIE), operator of Windstar Cruises, with an offer of about $39 million.

The Seattle-based company selected TAC Cruise LLC’s cash offer, which also includes taking on certain liabilities, as the winning bid after conducting a two-day auction that started yesterday, according to court papers filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Kristopher Hansen, a lawyer representing Ambassadors, wasn’t immediately available to respond to a phone call seeking comment.

Ambassadors operates Windstar’s three-ship luxury yacht fleet, which shuttles patrons to “the hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world’s most sought-after destinations,” according to a company statement. The ships carry 148 to 312 passengers to 50 nations in Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. The company listed $87.3 million in debt and $86.4 million in assets as of Dec. 1, 2010, in Chapter 11 documents.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross is scheduled to consider approving the sale at a hearing set for tomorrow.

Largest Shareholder

Ambassadors entered bankruptcy with an agreement to sell substantially all its assets to its lender Whippoorwill Associates Inc.

The Whippoorwill offer would have forgiven debt and assumed other liabilities in exchange for the assets, which the company valued at about $40 million, court papers show. White Plains, New York-based Whippoorwill is Ambassadors’ secured lender and largest shareholder, with about 22 percent of the company’s equity.

Anschutz, 71, is ranked 124th in the Forbes Magazine list of world’s richest people, with a net worth estimated at $7.5 billion, according to the website. He holds ownership interests in the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers and the National Hockey League’s L.A. Kings, and about 44 percent of Regal Entertainment Group’s common stock.

The case is In re Ambassadors International Inc., 11-11002, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Bathon in Wilmington, Delaware, at mbathon@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net

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