Two More Bidders, Including Aurora, Emerge for Vantage

Ocean Explorer

Two more potential bidders have made themselves known for small-ship operator Vantage Travel Services, including a subsidiary of Aurora Expeditions.

A preliminary court hearing was held on Wednesday in Boston for Vantage Travel Services’ chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

Setting the Tone

Janet E. Bostwick, United States Bankruptcy Judge, oversaw the Wednesday hearing, which saw a moderately attended court room plus over 200 participants on Zoom.

Judge Bostwick said the Wednesday hearing was more about setting rules going forward and her intention was to provide a level playing field and transparent process for the sale going forward.

Two More Bidders

Two attorneys made themselves known during the hearing, one representing a company, Pacific Travel Partners Inc., which revealed they were a potential bidder.

Pacific Travel is a subsidiary of Aurora Expeditions, which was involved in pre-bankruptcy discussions for Vantage, according to the company’s attorney.

Australia-based Aurora operates two ships year-round, which are sister ships to both Vantage’s ocean-going vessels, in the expedition cruise market.

Another attorney, Ray Liu, from Dorsey and Whitney, was also present at the hearing, and said he was representing another potential bidder. Liu said he was just observing and had no comments.

Of note, Liu is listed as a global partner and the head of Dorsey’s Beijing office, qualified to practice in both the New York and China.

United Travel

The only official bidder so far is United Travel Pte. Ltd, which has offered DIP (debtor-in-possession) financing and $1 million for various company assets, including the customer list, which the lawyer representing Vantage, Michael J. Goldberg of Casner & Edwards, said was the company’s main possession.

Of note, Aurora’s attorney said that if United Travel backed out, Aurora would take the same deal and provide DIP financing and could wire the money immediately.

United Travel is made up of Nordic Hamburg, which provides vessel management services, as well as Heritage Expeditions, which operates the former Hanseatic as the Heritage Adventurer in the year-round expedition cruise market.

Goldberg made a plea to move the deal along, saying the company was losing value daily, and only five employees remained. He referred to the company and a deal as a “melting ice cube.”

 

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