Alliance Offshore

Larose-based oil rig services business, Alliance Offshore, plans to acquire Epic Companies, a Houston-based offshore marine business for $75 million at auction in October, which is less than what is owed to creditors. 

Larose-based oil rig services business, Alliance Offshore, plans to acquire Epic Companies, a Houston-based offshore marine business for $75 million at auction in October, which is less than what is owed to creditors. 

Epic Companies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late August after it defaulted on two loans worth $115 million held by private investment firm White Oak Advisors in July. 

That same month Epic Companies laid off 400 workers, some of whom worked in Louisiana. The company owes another $30 million to unsecured creditors, which includes hundreds of Louisiana businesses. If the $75 million acquisition goes through, it's unclear whether any of the unsecured creditors will be paid. 

Alliance Offshore declined to discuss the bankruptcy proceedings citing a legal matter but submitted a statement. 

"Alliance simply viewed this as an opportunity to strengthen our company but also to save hundreds of industry jobs," said Steve Williams, CEO of Alliance Offshore's energy sister company in a recent email. "We are working in a very difficult market and it's becoming increasingly harder to survive without some consolidation."

White Oak Advisors did not respond to comment for this story. 

Alliance Offshore was founded in 2011 and describes itself as a boutique provider of liftboats for shallow waters which is tailored towards oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico. Alliance Offshore plans to finance the acquisition using an investment from White Oak Advisors, which already submitted a bid for most of Epic Companies' assets. 

White Oak Advisors seeks to finance the deal for Alliance Offshore by offering $40 million in cash and $35 million in debt, records show.

Epic Companies requested from the bankruptcy judge for the auction to begin on Oct. 22. Other companies may bid on the business with a minimum bid of $75.7 million. If Epic Companies sells its assets to any other business, the bidder must pay between $500,000 and $2 million depending on the purchase price as a break-up fee to Alliance Offshore. 

If the deal goes through, Tom Clarke, a healthcare industry executive who financed Epic Companies' acquisition of the offshore services division of Tetra Technologies in 2018, is slated to have his personal guarantee of the loans dropped from $47 million to $20 million, records show. 

Clarke did not respond to requests for comment.

Email Kristen Mosbrucker at kmosbrucker@theadvocate.com.