The last pieces of Minnesota Bride magazine publisher Tiger Oak Media have been sold for $2.5 million, ending more than two years of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Platinum Group, the consultant hired to find owners, said Thursday that Bear Holdings of Rice, Minn., is the new owner of Tiger Oak's six bridal magazines, which also include Wisconsin Bride.
Tiger Oak, which also produced seven lifestyle magazines, among other titles, filed in October 2019 for protection from more than 200 creditors.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Minnesota is expected on June 30 to hold a final hearing tied to creditor claims.
"Once the plan is approved, and we're hopeful that it will be, a trust will be established, claims will be reconciled, and creditors will be paid as soon as possible," said bankruptcy trustee Ed Caldie in an e-mail. "We are hopeful that creditors will be paid as much as 85% of their total, allowed claim amounts."
In January, Detroit-based Hour Media/Greenspring bought Tiger Oak's custom publishing unit and its seven Meetings and Events magazines, which cater to markets in Minnesota, Michigan, California and Texas.
The seven Community Lifestyles Group magazines, covering Edina, Minnetonka, Woodbury and more, were sold in February to North Co., better known as Artful Living, headquartered in Minneapolis.
Seattle entrepreneur Jonathan Sposato, who co-founded GeekWire, has purchased the Seattle Magazine and Seattle Business divisions.
Tiger Oaks was founded 30 years ago by longtime CEO Craig Bednar and went on to sport offices in Minneapolis; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Chicago; Dallas; Los Angeles and Denver.
The offices specialized in regional bridal, business and lifestyle-themed print products that were also showcased online.
Eventually the enterprise fell on hard times as advertising revenue fell and the money owed to printers, freelancers and vendors spiked.
"It was just a real financial nightmare. It took quite a while to figure out what the actual finances were," said Platinum Group executive consultant Dale Kurschner.
Tiger Oak's bankruptcy filing noted less than $50,000 in assets and at least $3 million in debt.
Chapter 11 trustee Stinson LLP hired the Minnetonka-based business advisory firm Platinum Group in April 2021 to find a buyers for the outfit.
Platinum officials noted that each of the four Tiger Oak divisions that were sold were able to continue operating during bankruptcy proceedings.
The company had about 86 employees when it first filed for bankruptcy, but that number shrank to a few dozen as the entities struggled with disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, including wedding cancellations, sales declines and company layoffs, Kurschner said.
Given the pressures from COVID-19 and Tiger Oaks' financial troubles, the publishers of the various entities "did a fantastic job of keeping the lights on," he said. "We were really happy that the outcome was as positive as it was."