A judge in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware approved the final sale of Waukesha’s Golden Guernsey Dairy LLC to Morton Grove, Ill.-based Lifeway Foods Inc.
The judge approved the auction bid $7.3 million for the company.
Lifeway outbid Canton, Ohio-based LEL Operating Company, parent of Superior Dairy Inc., which had submitted the initial $5.5 million bid.
Lifeway makes kefir, a cultured dairy drink, and reported net sales of $81.4 million in 2012, up 16 percent from a year prior.
The closing of the sale will take place within 20 days of the parties receiving a receipt of a sale order from Judge Kevin Gross, who signed the order on Monday, court records show, according to the Waukesha County Patch.
The company will reopen the Golden Guernsey Dairy this summer and make kefir there, according to a spokeswoman at the firm.
The Los Angeles-based private investment and acquisition firm OpenGate Capital acquired Golden Guernsey in September 2011 from Dean Foods after the U.S. Department of Justice required Dean Foods to sell the business in order to resolve antitrust concerns that Dean Foods’ share of the school milk supply business was too large.
OpenGate, which suddenly closed the doors in January and left 100 people out of work, attributed some of Golden Guernsey’s financial problems to strict existing contracts when it purchased the business.
Under bankruptcy law, the new owner would not have to abide by any of the old contracts for customers or the union, said court-appointed trustee Charles Stanziale Jr.
“The people that bought it have indicated they are going to operate a dairy,” Stanziale said. “They’re looking forward to see the workforce out there, particularly the people that used to work there, if they’re not working somewhere else. We’ve had a successful sale to the type of people we would like to sell it to.”