Mountain Gear Co-op acquired by L.A.-based funding agency

VANCOUVER – Mountain Gear Co-op says its board of administrators has unanimously authorised a deal during which a Los Angeles-based non-public funding agency will purchase MEC‘s property, together with the vast majority of its retail shops.

Vancouver-based MEC says the transition from a co-operative construction to a subsidiary of Kingswood Capital Administration is required to make sure a secure future for the enterprise.

The retailer stated it has been granted court docket safety underneath the Corporations’ Collectors Association Act (CCAA), permitting it to proceed working e-commerce and retail shops whereas the transaction and different components of the plan are accomplished. It says it is going to settle for reward playing cards and honour warranties throughout this era.

No monetary particulars had been disclosed.

Kingswood managing accomplice Alex Wolf stated in a press release he’s “honoured” to work together with his new Canadian working companions and that his firm is dedicated to proceed to “encourage and equip” Canadians who get pleasure from an lively out of doors way of life.

Lengthy-standing MEC member and Canadian Eric Claus will lead Kingswood’s newly fashioned Canadian affiliate as chair and CEO.

MEC chair Judi Richardson stated the “tough determination” to promote MEC follows an in depth examination of choices after the corporate was unable to beat years of persistent monetary challenges made worse by the impression of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Richardson stated in an interview that though she couldn’t converse for Kingswood’s future plans, the due-diligence discussions between MEC and Kingswood had indicated Kingswood was the bidder almost definitely to protect the best employment ranges and variety of shops.

Through the creditor safety course of, Kingswood will negotiate with landlords on preserving the footprint of at the very least 17 shops, she stated.

“With the introduced sale, we have primarily preserved a excessive variety of shops – so a big bricks-and-mortar footprint throughout Canada – and also will protect various employment alternatives for our present staff. And we imagine that we’re actually paving the way in which to the potential for one other 50 years of legacy,” Richardson stated.

Though the deal represents the second CEO shakeup in as a few years, Richardson stated she is hopeful that members of MEC‘s present govt management will stick with the corporate (even when the elected board doesn’t). Richardson stated that in discussions with the board, new CEO and board chairman Claus proved to be an “out of doors particular person” and likewise has co-op expertise, having led Co-Op Atlantic as chief govt.

“We did usher in new management underneath Phil Arrata. He joined in July of 2019, and he and the group put a turnaround plan collectively – they usually had been executing, and executing nicely, on that turnaround technique,” stated Richardson.

Richardson stated the corporate will probably proceed with a number of the plans that had been already in place, together with re-evaluating the varieties of merchandise supplied and the variety of merchandise supplied in every class, in addition to the availability chain. The creditor safety course of may even assist cut back the corporate’s debt, she stated, in addition to excessive “mounted prices” and inefficiencies.

“Kingswood themselves are placing some monetary sources into this transaction, however they don’t seem to be working the enterprise. And they also have partnered with (Claus)… and he is very captivated with MEC,” stated Richardson.

“I do imagine that they’ve each intention of carrying on with the MEC function.”

Through the transition from a co-operative to a non-public firm, Richardson stated, members must declare themselves as collectors to stake a declare on their $5 shares except Kingswood decides on an alternate technique to compensate the members (who turn into extraordinary clients of the non-public enterprise).

Alvarez & Marsal Canada Inc. has been appointed by the court docket because the monitor underneath the CCAA proceedings.

The transaction stays topic to regulatory approvals and is anticipated to shut within the fourth quarter of 2020.

– With recordsdata from Anita Balakrishnan in Toronto.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Sept. 14, 2020.