A newly minted company is maneuvering to scoop up some choice assets as part of the Chapter 7 liquidation of bankrupt WL Homes, more commonly known as John Laing Homes. The limited liability company, known as EJL Homes, is a subsidiary of Emaar America Corp., John Laing's parent company.
The Emaar "new co" is on track to close on a portfolio of assets by Sept. 30, according to court documents. Included in the portfolio are land parcels and lots in 23 locations across Colorado, Northern and Southern California, Maryland, Texas, and Utah, as well as intellectual property such as brands, logos, and taglines and personal property such as computer equipment, office furnishings, fixtures, prospect lists, and even a six-person golf cart.
The company will acquire the assets "free and clear of liens, claims, and encumbrances" for $7 million, "less the aggregate amount of the purchase price offsets," according to court documents.
In addition to the hard assets, EJL Homes will also assume a number of liabilities, including undisclosed cure costs, secured debt obligations ($23.6 million), development obligations ($5 million), and lien obligations ($2.1 million) associated with the properties.
The purchase agreement was drafted July 24, amended, and then filed with the court Aug. 26. A number of objections came in from parties as diverse as a homeowners association, a country treasurer, insurance companies, master developers of properties being traded in the portfolio, a finance company, and even a software company. However, the purchase agreement was approved by Delaware Bankruptcy Court judge Brendon A. Shannon with few stipulations other than the deal close by the end of September, the removal of SAP software from computers sold to EJL Homes, and that the Housing Capital Co., which had a sizeable interest in one of the portfolio properties, sign off on the transaction.
In the documents, the judge stated:
"The seller has marketed the acquired assets and conducted the sale process in compliance with the procedures order and the auction was duly noticed and conducted in a non-collusive, fair, and good faith manner. Pursuant to the procedures order, the agreement, if timely closed, has been duly determined to be the highest and best qualified bid for the acquired assets as more fully set forth in the agreement. The agreement was a qualified bid and would be of the highest and best offer for the acquired assets, either in bulk or lots."