Brunico sets stalking-horse bid for NATPE assets

The National Association of Television Programming Executives, which is filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October after canceled events left it unable to pay creditors, said that several parties expressed interest in the trade group’s assets, headed by Toronto-based Brunico Communications.

The B2B publisher and events producer is looking to acquire the assets of the 60-year-old organization. IToffered to pay $150,000 for NATPE’s assets and to assume the group’s liabilities, according to papers filed with the court.

Other interested parties will have to exceed this stalking-horse bid by at least US$40,000 and must be able to close by December 30, 2022. An auction is scheduled for December 14, and a sale could be finalized as soon as December 23.A hearing is scheduled for December 14. If the terms of the auction are approved, the auction will take place that day.

In a statement, Brunico Communications president and CEO Russell Goldstein said the plan is to bring the selection of NATPE events back at full capacity, starting next year.

“Working in consultation with NATPE’s board, membership, and longtime sponsors, we intend to orchestrate a full-scale return of all NATPE annual events, beginning with NATPE Budapest from June 26 to 28, 2023 at the Intercontinental Hotel, and followed by NATPE Global in Miami during its traditional timeframe in January 2024,” he said.

NATPE is asking the court to approve rules for auctioning off the groups’ assets. The auction would start with Brunico’s offer being the “stalking horse.”

Brunico would get $29,000 as a breakup fee if it were not the winning bidder.

In its bankruptcy filing, NAPTE said it has total assets of $949,000 as of September 30, 2022, the end of the first half of its fiscal 2023. At the end of fiscal 2022, the organization had assets of $2.6 million. The NATPE filing said that it ran at a $1.33 million deficit in the first six months of its fiscal year.

Brunico currently produces international events that include Kidscreen Summit, Realscreen Summit and the Banff World Media Festival. It also runs a range of print and digital B2B publications covering TV, film, advertising and fintech. NATPE, likewise, has a longstanding and important role in the global TV marketplace. Its marquee event, NATPE Global, takes place annually in Miami in January and attracts an estimated average of around 4,000 attendees annually. The organization also runs LA Screenings Independents in May, NATPE Budapest in June and the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards.

A handful of other companies are thought to be in the running for NATPE’s assets. C21 International publicly expressed interest in October, but then announced earlier this week that it was withdrawing from the auction process.

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