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Warner Brokers Sale of Helicopter Manufacturer in Bankruptcy

Acting as legal counsel for the Chapter 7 trustee, Warner attorneys quickly brokered the sale of the Enstrom Helicopter Corp., getting through bankruptcy court approval to closing in less than four months. The speed of the process and the concerted actions of all involved enabled Enstrom, which designs and manufactures helicopters for commercial, government and personal use, to continue as a going concern from its headquarters in Menominee, Michigan.

Warner moved quickly to prevent Enstrom’s experienced workforce from leaving for other jobs, and the Warner team’s commitment to collaboration and a focus on creative problem-solving proved key in saving the iconic manufacturer and 70-plus jobs.

Some of the challenges in this complex transaction included:

  • Transferring Federal Aviation Administration certifications required for the development and production of the helicopters to a new owner.
  • Ownership and funding restrictions under the Committee on Foreign Investments in the U.S. regulations, which had the U.S. Department of Justice paying close attention to potential buyers in this highly regulated industry.
  • The tighter operational constraints in Chapter 7, as opposed to Chapter 11 where a Debtor-in-possession has greater leeway to operate while restructuring in bankruptcy.
  • The auction’s winning bidder bowing out at the 11th hour – a predicament solved by intense negotiations with a new buyer leading to a closing in just five days.