Sun Country Close to Sale, Buyer Unnamed

The trustee handling the airline's bankruptcy estate says that he expects to receive a letter of intent from a proposed buyer sometime soon.

Sun Country Airlines is on track to being sold in the near future, according to court documents filed this week.

Doug Kelley, the trustee handling the Mendota Heights-based airline's bankruptcy estate, “is anticipating accepting a letter of intent from a proposed purchaser shortly,” the documents said.

Neither the name of the anticipated purchaser nor the purchase price was disclosed.

Sun Country filed for Chapter 11 protection in October 2008 just three days after Tom Petters-the airline's majority stockholder-was arrested on charges related to investment fraud. Petters is now serving a 50-year sentence for running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of an estimated $3.65 billion.

Petters Aviation, LLC, a unit of Minnetonka-based Petters Group Worldwide, along with Minneapolis-based Whitebox Advisors, acquired Sun Country in 2006. In 2007, Petters Aviation purchased Whitebox's share of the company. Petters Aviation is currently the airline's main shareholder.

Sun Country-which officially emerged from bankruptcy late last month-has been looking for a buyer for at least a year. In a reorganization plan filed in April 2010, which outlined the airline's plans to exit bankruptcy, the company said that it believes that “the indications of interest confirm a valuation in the range of $10 million to $30 million.”

In the just-filed court documents, Kelley asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gregory Kishel to seal the name of the expected buyer and offer price, along with the minimum amount the airline would accept, until the transaction has been negotiated.

Kelley said that the deal may be jeopardized if he can't assure the prospective purchaser that the offer price will be accepted by shareholders.