Story by the Dallas Business Journal
A sweet deal between Fort Worth oil and gas billionaire Sid Bass and Blue Bell Creameries LP would give Bass a one-third stake in the company and the ice creamery $125 million to resurrect operations.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Bass and Blue Bell closed on a loan facility earlier this month. According to a letter sent Monday from Blue Bell President and CEO Paul Kruse to the company’s owners, the Bass family is expected to exercise warrants to acquire a 33 percent ownership in the Brenham company before the loan matures in 2018, the Journal said.
Kruse’s letter went on to say that after Blue Bell recalled all of its products in April following a deadly Listeria outbreak that killed three and sickened another two, the company has been unable to raise enough cash to stay in business. In May, Blue Bell announced its intent to lay off more than a third of its 3,900-strong workforce.
But with Bass’ help, Blue Bell already is aiming to reopen its Sylacauga, Alabama, plant by the end of the month, followed by its Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, facility. Its flagship Brenham plant also is on track to be back online by this fall, Kruse’s letter said.
After the plants are operational, work will start on reintroducing Blue Bell products into stores. The company has shared plans to restart its operations with the Food and Drug Administration, the Journal said.