Agriprocessors sale still being worked on, not a done deal.
I spoke with Joseph Sarachek, Agriprocessors' court-appointed trustee a few minutes ago.
At this point, Agriprocessors has not been sold.
Sarachek said US Bankruptcy Court must be asked for a hearing date and papers must be filed.
Sarachek told me, "we're not at that point yet."
And, Sarachek noted, the US Attorney must vet the buyer and agree to the sale before the sale is final. That process has not yet happened.
Sarachek was not able to comment on the name of the potential buyer,
Yesterday, I reported that buyer is Hershey Friedman.
UPDATE 5:30 pm CDT – Here's the new AP story confirming my report:
Trustee: Iowa slaughterhouse sale 'in the works'
The Associated Press | 22 May 2009 | 06:08 PM ET
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The trustee for a bankrupt kosher slaughterhouse said Friday the northeast Iowa plant could be sold soon.
"A sale is in the works and we should have an announcement shortly," said Agriprocessors, Inc., bankruptcy trustee Joe Sarachek.
Sarachek declined to identify the buyer or say whether it was the same company that bought a $10 million loan from St. Louis-based First Bank to Agriprocessors earlier this month, paving the way for a sale. The bank had funneled the money to Agriprocessors so it could keep operating after it filed for bankruptcy protection in October.
"I'm not going there," Sarachek said when asked to identify the buyer.
He said the company would be sold off as "a going concern" and won't be broken up among multiple buyers.
Immigration agents raided the Agriprocessors slaughterhouse in Postville in May 2008 and arrested 389 people, most from Mexico and Guatemala.
Sholom Rubashkin, a former plant manager and son of Agriprocessors CEO Aaron Rubashkin, faces federal immigration, bank fraud and money laundering charges, and he's been accused of violating state and federal laws dealing with child labor, wage requirements and safety rules. Other former managers also have been charged by federal prosecutors.
The company has been seeking a buyer since filing for bankruptcy. No buyer emerged during a bankruptcy auction in March, but Sarachek has said three companies are actively pursuing the plant.
Sarachek said he doesn't have an exact time frame for when the sale could be announced.
"It will be sometime next week," Sarachek said. "Early next week we'll have a better understanding of when the sale will occur."
Sarachek has said the plant is more valuable as a whole than it would be split into parts, given its specific construction and the equipment designed to process kosher meat.
A separate Agriprocessors operation, the now-closed Local Pride LLC plant in Gordon, Neb., will be sold separately from the Postville slaughterhouse, Sarachek said.
"We're working on a sale (of Local Pride)," Sarachek said. "We've received some offers from other parties, and we're working on it."
Sarachek said the sale of Local Pride is not expected to happen nearly as soon as the sale of the Agriprocessors plant in Postville.
I asked Sarachek if the sale would be announced Tuesday or sometime next week. He was much less certain when speaking with me than he apparently was with the AP.
Will a sale be announced next week?
Time will tell.