According to a press release issued by Premier, the company has proposed February 6, 2018 as the auction date of company assets. This sale, subject to court approval, will allow bidders to purchase the company or its assets. Included in this auction are Titanic artifacts. However the company maintains the right to designate a stalking horse bidder before the auction deadline.
Premier Exhibitions has gone forward with the adversary proceeding against France to attain clear title to the French Collection. Premier tried to get the bankruptcy court to allow the sale arguing they had clear title. However the court found that under federal law, the must first conduct an adversary proceeding. As part of the filing on 17 August, Premier argues they were given clear and unambiguous title. What happens next is that France will have to respond through their American lawyers as to what their position in the matter is. The documents attached to the filing appear to support their claim.
Source: Adversary Proceeding, In Re: RMS Titanic, Inc: U.S. Bankruptcy Court,Middle District Florida, 17 Aug 2016
The U.S. Trustee has filed an objection to Premier’s motion to sell artifacts from the French Collection. “The Sale Motion should be denied because it is not noticed to all required parties, does not include a description of sale procedures, does not describe the property to be sold, and, at least at this early stage in the case, does not meet the standard.”
Some interesting facts from Lillian Rizzo’s blog entry at Wall Street Journal on the Titanic bankruptcy filing:
1. Premier owes owes $12 million to unsecured creditors.
2. The company states that just the sale of four artifacts from the French Collection could fetch $10 million or more at auction.
3. The money raised from the sale would be used to pay off creditors,help the shareholders and keep the company afloat.
In a recent report to the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), Premier Exhibitions reported:
“On June 20, 2016, the Company filed a number of motions in the Bankruptcy Court. Among the motions filed was a motion seeking permission to sell a portion of the Titanic artifacts awarded to the Company pursuant to a 1993 French administrative decree, which are from time to time referred to as the 1987 Artifacts in Company filings. At this time the Company does not know when the Bankruptcy Court will rule on this motion, and does not know the likely outcome of the motion.”
Since those artifacts are not part of the salvage award decision in the U.S., those stringent conditions imposed for sale do not apply here.