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Jay McIntosh

Stalking horse bid for Carls Patio to be presented at hearing

BOCA RATON, Fla. - No qualified competing bids for the assets of retailer Carls Patio were received before the Feb. 28 deadline and the stalking horse bid is set to be presented at a hearing March 5, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records.

The stalking horse bidder is a group led by Paul Otowchits, the retailer's chief operating officer, with investment support from Weinberg Capital Group. The group said earlier it had already signed a purchase agreement for the Florida outdoor home furnishings retailer.

Carls Patio said in a press release several weeks ago that after the purchase, Otowchits will be named president and the company will continue to use the Carls Patio name.

The retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware on Jan. 21.

According to court documents, the stalking horse bid for the retailer was valued at about $4.2 million and included the assumption of certain liabilities. Other bids would have to have been at least $145,000 higher than the stalking horse bid to be considered.

Carls Patio operates 10 stores and a warehouse, court records said.

The company cited several reasons for its bankruptcy filing, including the economic downturn, increased competition, unsuccessful strategic initiatives and "increased fixed costs through store expansion that raised the breakeven level of the company and constricted flexibility in cost saving initiatives in response to demand factors."

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