After First Day in Bankruptcy Court, MacKeyser Holdings LLC/American Optical Services to Close Some Locations While Others Remain Open Pending Sale

By


WILMINGTON, Del.—Following its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday, June 20, 2014, MacKeyser Holdings, LLC and its subsidiaries associated with the businesses known as American Optical Services (AOS) and Excela Hearing Services appeared for the first day of hearing yesterday before Judge Brendan L. Shannon, U.S. bankruptcy judge, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

“All of our motions were approved, so we can continue to operate the business and pay our bills,” said Thomas J. Allison, the turnaround executive who was named CEO after former CEO, Pierre Keyser, and former COO, Erica Perreira, were terminated earlier this month, as reported by VMail June 10, 2014.

The motions approved by the judge yesterday, which Allison told VMail were “typical first day motions,” authorized cash management systems such as payments, payroll functions and financing to enable the company to maintain its day-to-day functions. Private equity firm Health Evolution Partners was approved to provide the financing necessary for the company to get through Chapter 11.

The company has 80 operations with multiple locations in 14 states throughout the country. These operations were categorized into “three baskets of assets” when Allison took over management of the company on June 6, he told VMail, “those that needed to be closed, those in the ‘keepwell’ operation that will remain open and allow doctors to have 60 days to buy their practice back from AOS, and those that will be sold.” Because of their “profitability levels,” five practices totaling 12 locations were closed on June 20.

However, while the practices were initially categorized into these three silos, there is some flux, with certain locations moving from one category to another. For example, The Eye Gallery in Colorado was originally closed, but Timothy J. Bauer, OD, who sold the practice to AOS in September, plans to reopen the Aspen and Carbondale locations.

“It’s a very fluid situation right now,” Allison told VMail, but he is “optimistic about the great deal of interest in our stores. The numbers will move, as a lot have expressed interest in acquiring our retail and lasik operations.” While he said that it is “premature” to determine how the various pieces of the business will be sold, “we’re looking forward to a robust process that will evolve over the next few weeks as we work through the expressions of interest,” he said.

In addition, “we’ve gotten support from several vendors to continue shipments,” he added. “We are working with our doctors and other partners to transition through this period efficiently, with minimal interruption to patient care.”

The next court date is scheduled for July 16, 2014 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. While the company is incorporated in the state of Delaware, its headquarters are based in Las Vegas.