Giant Eagle might lose LeNature plant to Cadbury

PITTSBURGH Giant Eagle may lose its $20 million purchase of bankrupt LeNature’s bottling plant here, according to court documents filed in western Pennsylvania’s bankruptcy court Wednesday.

Court-appointed LeNature trustee Todd Neilson charged that Giant Eagle “acted in bad faith” by intimidating a competing bidder, according to court documents. Specifically, Neilson claimed that Giant Eagle threatened to pull its business from competing bidder Cadbury Schweppes Beverage Group.

Neilson asked Judge Bruce McCullough to approve the sale of the bottling plant to Cadbury Schweppes for $19 million without conducting another auction. Cadbury Schweppes bid was the second highest compared to Giant Eagle’s bid of $20 million for the bottling plant.

A hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Thursday morning reported that Giant Eagle claims it acted appropriately at all times, and “the complained-of conduct had absolutely no impact on the bankruptcy auction or the sale price.”

By discontinuing the sale of Cadbury Schweppes’ beverages, Giant Eagle estimated that it cut as much as $8 million of sales to Cadbury, according to its court filing. Cadbury Schweppes currently generates some $40 million in beverage sales at Giant Eagle.

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