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Kerkman & Dunn
757 North Broadway, Suite 300
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Toll Free: 800-613-0747
Fax: 414-277-0100
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Kerkman Dunn Sweet DeMarb 
121 S Pinckney Street, Suite 525
Madison, WI 53703

Phone: 608-310-5500
Fax: 608-310-5525
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Milwaukee Business & Commercial Law Blog

Wisconsin bowling alleys close doors, prior Chapter 11 bankruptcy

People who enjoy bowling for fun or in leagues might soon find that they have to find another way to pass the time because bowling lanes are closing. Bowling has long been a beloved sport. In the 1960s, when the sport was at its peak, there were around 12,000 bowling centers. By 2011, the United States Bowling Congress reports that certified centers around the country numbered only around 5,160.

In Waukesha and South Milwaukee, the AMF bowling centers, both of which were large, have closed their doors. This comes on the heels of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing that occurred less than two years ago. In an effort to keep the centers open, AMF and Strike Holdings LLC merged into a new company. The bowling centers that recently closed in Wisconsin were some of the 300 bowling centers the company put up for sale. Sadly, no buyers for the centers were found.

Credit union merger could benefit Wisconsin members

Advia Credit Union and Southwest Michigan Federal Credit Union might soon be joining forces help provide better services to people in several states, including Wisconsin. The two entities have approved a partnership with intent to merge agreement. Finalization of the deal is expected to occur in the fall of this year.

Before the deal can be finalized, the members of the SMFCU have to vote on the merger. It is also subject to regulatory approval. It isn't expected that the merger will result in job loss or branch closures. If the deal is finalized, the merged entity will have assets of more than $1.1 billion and over 110,000 members.

China attempts to steal corn trade secrets

It may sound like something right out of a spy novel, but Wisconsin readers might be interested to know that even our farm products may be subject to unfair competition. Most of us would probably be surprised to find someone sneaking through a cornfield and stealing corn seeds for DNA purposes, but it is not as far-fetched as it sounds.

Recently, a Chinese woman was involved in a group that was doing just that in Iowa and Illinois.

The Chinese woman is the wife of the chairman of a company, which is known in the U.S. as DNB Group or its subsidiaries. The official name of the company is Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co. The woman, who is a Chinese citizen, was in charge of DNB Group’s research project management team from 2001 to 2009. This past Wednesday, she was arrested on charges of “conspiracy to steal trade secrets” in Des Moines, Iowa.

In less than 6 months, Quiznos emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy

When a national franchise announces that it is filing for bankruptcy, people who frequent the stores likely start to think the worst. In some cases, however, business bankruptcy is a useful tool that can help the business to take charge of debts that are otherwise unsurmountable. That is exactly what happened when Quiznos filed for bankruptcy in March.

The company, which actually operates only seven restaurants, has reduced its debt load by over $400 million. It has now emerged from bankruptcy in less than half a year after restructuring the company's finances.

Paper mill merger might be on hold after credit downgrade

The merger of NewPage Corp. and Verso Paper Corp. has hit a snag that might result in some bad news for Wisconsin residents. Just recently, the credit rating for Verso's has been downgraded by Moody's Investor Services. It is now listing the company one that could potentially default on debts.

Some are saying that filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy might help to take some of the pressure off of the company. If that is the case, a business bankruptcy could help to keep mills open. That would probably be welcome news for Wisconsin residents who rely on these mills for income.

Deals for mergers become interesting for Hillshire Farms

When a business decides to merge with another business, things aren't always a sure bet until the merger is a done deal. A recent announcement by Hillshire Brands shows that there are some instances where a deal might be ended if something more favorable comes along.

Hillshire Brands was in the midst of a deal with Pinnacle Foods, but the board of Hillshire Brands doesn't recommend that the merger go through now. The $6.6 billion deal between Hillshire and Pinnacle was criticized by many who didn't feel the deal was a good option.

Fraudulent business cited by Wisconsin families

It is never easy to live and raise a child with special needs. Some families have found solace introducing a service animal into the home. They come from organizations that dedicate themselves to raising, training and providing service dogs that can work with special needs children and help provide a safe, comfortable environment that is especially conducive to dealing with special needs children.

Many families in the state of Wisconsin have come forth with complaints against one agency that made promises the family feels have not been delivered. After having paid a hefty price of $10,000, the family claims a service dog does not meet their expectations. An agency in Pine River sold the family a mixed-breed dog that they stated had been trained in using specific behaviors geared toward calming a 10-year-old autistic boy.

Wisconsin bank mergers likely to continue through 2014

Many banks in Wisconsin have merged since 2013, with more than a dozen such moves coming in that time period. These have been spurred by a few different things, such as the retirement of management officials to issues and problems with loans. No matter the reason, one thing is certain: mergers have become popular for financial institutions in recent years.

Two of these mergers have come about because small banks have failed. Larger banks have then swept in and merged with them to keep them up and running, absorbing them into the larger institutions.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed by Pizza Hut franchisee

When a person enters into a franchise agreement, they are bound by the terms of that agreement. For one Pizza Hut franchisee, required capital improvements required by the franchise agreement is part of the reason cited for having to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Sky Ventures, a 140-employee subsidiary of Border Foods that owns some restaurants in Wisconsin, has announced that it will sell six more locations on top of the 54 sold in December as part of the bankruptcy. The vice president of the company says that stagnant sales coupled with increasing expenses from higher ingredient costs and an increased minimum wage have made the debt reorganization plan necessary.

Madison bank survives reorganization, thrives

The economic upswing has improved ratings for banks in south-central Wisconsin as shown by a recent industry survey. There are 74 banks operating in the greater Madison area, and 14 of them received the highest rating of superior from Bankrate.com. Only seven rated superior in 2013. The ratings are based on financial records that closed on Dec. 31, 2013, and were submitted to federal regulators.

One bank with significant improvement was AnchorBank, based in Madison. Last year they struggled mightily to recover from loans that went south during the recession years and needed a source of new capital. They rated only one star from Bankrate and none from Bauer, another industry rating service. Last fall they underwent a bankruptcy reorganization and got $175 million capitalization. This year, Anchor received two stars from both rating services.