Sun Country's price revealed: $34M

  • Article by: DAVID PHELPS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 3, 2011 - 9:34 AM

The price paid by Cambria Holdings was $10 million more than the minimum bid price, thanks to multiple bids.

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Marty Davis, CEO of Cambria, the new owner of Sun Country Airlines.

Photo: Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

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Cambria Holdings paid $34 million when it acquired Sun Country Airlines two weeks ago, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

The purchase price, previously undisclosed, is substantially greater than the $24 million minimum price set by bankruptcy trustee and receiver Doug Kelley and was the result of an auction with multiple bidders in the recently profitable Minneapolis-based carrier.

Marty Davis, CEO of the family-run quartz countertop manufacturer, could not be reached for comment.

In a report to U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery, Kelley, acting as receiver for the estate of convicted businessman Tom Petters, said the terms of the sale "significantly exceed[ed] initial valuation estimates" and helped protect 850 jobs at the airline.

Sun Country successfully emerged from bankruptcy earlier this year after turning a $13 million profit in 2010. Airline executives say Sun Country is also running in the black for the first six months of 2011, but quarterly results have yet to be publicly reported.

The airline recently has been bulking up its revenue-producing capabilities with lucrative military charters and collegiate athletic team charters that keep planes in service during periods of slow traffic.

Sun Country also offers a business concierge service to increase its mix of business travelers with the leisure passengers.

Before bankruptcy, Sun Country was controlled by Petters, whose broad range of business interests were largely supported by a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme that he and several associates operated for more than a decade. Kelley is trustee for the Petters bankruptcy estate.

Investors, including Davis, started showing interest in Sun Country last year.

Kelley said he authorized two independent valuations of the airline, one by investment banker Raymond James and one by an Atlanta lawyer who specializes in aviation valuations, before setting the $24 million floor as the lowest purchase price he would accept. He rejected at least one bid at $15 million.

Cambria and the Davis family made a bid early in the year and then a second, winning bid, this spring and summer.

David Phelps • 612-673-7269

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