Giant Eagle may still get LeNature plant

PITTSBURGH Giant Eagle and Cadbury Schweppes have come to terms on an agreement that would see the bankrupt Le-Nature’s bottling plant revert to Giant Eagle ownership for a sum of $19 million, according to court papers filed Wednesday.

Originally, Giant Eagle was awarded the bottling plant for a sum of $20 million, which beat out Cadbury’s bid of $19 million. However, the court voided Giant Eagle’s bid following disclosures that the Pittsburgh-based grocer may have threatened to cut $7 million in annual orders of Cadbury’s beverages. Judge Bruce McCullough also ruled Giant Eagle must forfeit its $2 million bidding deposit.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Todd Neilson, Le-Nature’s court-appointed trustee, would drop his objections to Cadbury selling the plant to Giant Eagle—Cadbury had informed the court it would likely sell the plant to Giant Eagle if its bid was accepted for the bottling plant over the objections of Neilson.

In exchange, Giant Eagle will pay $2.3 million, drop plans to appeal the judge's order that it forfeit the $2 million deposit, and pay some $89,000 to help move a sewer line at the plant, a cost Le-Nature's had originally agreed to pay.

The proposed settlement will be considered at a Sept. 25 hearing.

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