Proposals to salvage troubled fund manager Bridging Finance Inc. (BFI) by selling the firm and its assets are down to two finalists: a cash deal and a restructuring proposal. A recommendation from the firm’s receiver is expected by mid-February.
BFI’s receiver, PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. (PwC), provided an update in a new court filing on the process for selling BFI and its funds, which launched late last summer.
PwC was appointed as BFI’s receiver by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice last May at the request of the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) amid an investigation into questionable transactions involving some of the firm’s funds.
The OSC has not brought any formal enforcement allegations in the case. However, after taking over as receiver, PwC also raised its own concerns about some of the funds’ dealings. And, its reports to the court have indicated that the funds are facing shortfalls of at least $580 million.
At the same time, PwC has been engaging in a process to sell BFI and/or its funds in an effort to maximize investor recoveries. PwC had hoped to provide a recommendation to the court on prospective bids by Jan. 31.
PwC now says that it will make its recommendation by mid-February, after the funds’ investors have had a chance to review competing proposals, alongside its own plan for winding down the firm.
According to the firm’s latest court filing, PwC has narrowed the various bids to two final contenders, which include a straightforward cash bid and an “investment” proposal that contemplates recapitalizing and restructuring the business.
At the request of counsel for investors (Bennett Jones LLP), PwC also developed a plan that considers liquidating the funds’ loans and other assets, and estimates the time and costs that would be incurred in proceeding with an orderly wind down of the business.
On Jan. 31, the investors’ counsel and its financial advisors (Alvarez & Marsal Canada Inc.) held a series of webinars for investors to review the two offers, along with PwC’s alternate plan for maximizing recovery.
The purpose of those sessions was to solicit feedback from BFI fund investors and investment advisors “to determine whether there is sufficient desire to proceed down a realization path different from [PwC’s plan],” the filing said.
PwC indicated it will consider the feedback collected following the webinars as it evaluates the final bids and makes a recommendation to the court by mid-February.