Energizer Holdings Inc., known for its battery-powered pink bunny and Schick shavers, won an auction to buy bankrupt competitor American Safety Razor Co. with an offer of $301 million.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary F. Walrath in Wilmington, Delaware, picked Energizer’s offer over a bid by American Safety’s lenders, who wanted to trade the $244 million debt owed to them for ownership of the maker of surgical blades and wet-shave razors.
Walrath overruled the first choice of American Safety’s board, which said it preferred the lower bid from the lenders because it had a better chance of winning approval from U.S. antitrust regulators. American Safety attorney Mark Thompson said before Walrath ruled that the board would abide by her decision and cooperate with Energizer to close the sale.
American Safety “finds itself in the best of all possible worlds,” Energizer attorney Lloyd Palans said in court. “It has both the bird in hand and $57 million more than the bird.”
The lenders have agreed to buy American Safety should the Energizer bid fail to close. Energizer has until Nov. 23 to win regulatory approval.
American Safety filed for bankruptcy protection in July with plans to sell itself to lenders. The company blamed its bankruptcy on increased competition for inexpensive shavers and the loss of its biggest customer, Wal-Mart Inc.
The bankruptcy case is In re American Safety Razor Co., 10-12351, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).