Rodger May’s bidding war with Silver Bay for Peter Pan’s assets gets contentious

Peter Pan Seafoods Co-Owner Rodger May and former CEO Kevin Bixler
Peter Pan Seafoods Co-Owner Rodger May and former CEO Kevin Bixler | Photos courtesy of Peter Pan Seafoods
6 Min

Rodger May, the co-owner of Peter Pan Seafoods, which entered receivership on 25 April, is fighting it out with Silver Bay Seafoods to buy up the distressed company’s assets.

May, who has served as Peter Pan’s president and chief growth officer since joining a consortium, which included his firm Northwest Fish Co., McKinley Alaska Private Investment-managed Na’-Nuk Investment Fund, and RRG Global Partners Fund, to buy it from Maruha Nichiro in 2021, submitted several unsuccessful bids for Peter Pan’s assets, which are being sold off by the Stapleton Group – a financial consultancy firm appointed as controller of the company’s assets on 25 April by the judge overseeing the case, which was filed in King County Superior Court in the U.S. state of Washington on 22 April.

In an affidavit filed 5 June, May said he and his wife, Lisa May, are owed at least USD 37 million (EUR 34 million) from Peter Pan, making them two of the company’s largest creditors, in the form of loans made in February and May 2023. Additionally, May said he has not been remunerated for hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and that he personally guaranteed USD 24 million (EUR 22 million) in company debt to product development firm Calkins & Burke and to logistics firm Delta Western. However, May claims he is likely to lose his entire equity stake in the company, which he valued at USD 65 million (EUR 59.7 million).

"At this point, if events continue to unfold as they have been, I do not see a realistic scenario in which I recover any of that value," May said in his declaration.

May vociferously objected to negotiations of a sale of most of Peter Pan’s assets by the Stapleton Group to Silver Bay Seafoods, which previously finalized an agreement to take over Peter Pan’s Alaska operations in April. According to court documents, Silver Bay has offered USD 35 million (EUR 32.1 million) for Peter Pan’s canned seafood inventory and a one-third share in the Kent Warehousing and Labeling facility in Kent, Washington.

May countered with a USD 36 million (EUR 33 million) offer for the same assets and made separate offers of USD 31 million (EUR 28.5 million) for the canned stock alone, USD 4.6 million (EUR 4.2 million) for the interest in the KWL facility alone, and USD 4.3 million (EUR 4 million) for Peter Pan’s Port Moller, Alaska, processing plant. Alternatively, May offered USD 58 million (EUR 53.3 million) for all of Peter Pan’s inventory, as well as the Port Moller plant and the share in the KWL warehouse.

“I recently became aware that the receiver was attempting to sell significant assets of Peter Pan for what I believe to be less than fair-market value in a process that failed to take advantage of an open bidding process that would generate greater value for the receivership estate and its creditors,” May said. “I have been attempting to work with the receiver to acquire certain assets and am ready, willing, and able to meet or exceed other third-party offers, including offers by Silver Bay – with equal access to materials for due diligence.”

May claimed Silver Bay hired away Peter Pan’s former CEO, Kevin Bixler, in January 2024 and that Bixler has given his new employer sensitive, non-public information that has pushed down Silver Bay’s offering price for Peter Pan’s assets.

“To me, this is a strong indication that Silver Bay may have been able to leverage non-public information of Peter Pan in subsequent negotiations, whereby Silver Bay (a Peter Pan competitor) has been able to cherry-pick and acquire Peter Pan assets on terms that are highly favorable to Silver Bay,” May said. “After the initiation of Peter Pan’s receivership, Silver Bay has continued its efforts to acquire Peter Pan assets on terms that I believe are below fair-market value and not in the best interests of Peter Pan’s creditors.”

May complained he has been locked out of negotiations on the sale of most of Peter Pan’s assets and has not received responses to his offers.

“Without notice and an opportunity to object to the receiver’s potential transactions with third parties, I am extremely concerned that ...

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