This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A Florida company paid only $15 million for the right to foreclose on Utah-based nutritional-juice seller MonaVie, which once boasted nearly $1 billion in annual sales.
That figure and others emerged Friday during a U.S. District Court hearing at the conclusion of which Judge Bruce Jenkins said he would allow a Florida company to finish taking over MonaVie of South Jordan.
But Jenkins repeatedly pressed attorneys about the circumstances that led to the foreclosure of MonaVie, which once sold bottles of fruit juice for $35 or more to a network of hundreds of thousands of independent distributors.
Bankers Trust Co. of South Dakota, which is involved in a lawsuit against MonaVie and is being sued itself, asked Jenkins three weeks ago to temporarily halt the foreclosure in order to give it time to study the transactions that led up to it.
On Friday, Bankers Trust attorney Scott Morrisson told Jenkins his client was OK with the foreclosure being carried out by a sister company of another multilevel marketer, Jeunesse Global LLC of Altamonte Springs, Fla. Jenkins said he would allow a temporary restraining order to expire at 5 p.m. but not before he repeatedly pressed attorneys for answers to questions about the transactions that led to the foreclosure.
Morrisson at one point told the judge that he couldn't disclose details of a recent transfer of some assets from MonaVie to his client because it was confidential.
"You're ordered to tell me," Jenkins said.
Morrisson then revealed that MonaVie had transferred some stock to Bankers Trust that sold for just over $100,000.
But attorneys and new court filings also revealed certain details of the deals that led to the company's failure.
• In 2008, MonaVie received an infusion of $100 million in capital from TSG-MV Financing LLC, an entity set up by TSG Consumer Partners of San Francisco, in exchange for a substantial share of the company. The monies went to MonaVie shareholders.
• Then in November 2010, TSG-MV converted its equity, and added additional monies, into a $182 million loan at 12 percent interest with almost all MonaVie's assets pledged as collateral.
• Also in November 2010, MonaVie formed an employee stock ownership plan and sold it shares valued at $186 million. The purchase was made with a loan from the company carrying a 10 percent interest rate. But the shares had lost more than a third of their value within 44 days and 99.5 percent of their value by January 2014.
• MonaVie defaulted on the note to TSG-MV. In March, an entity related to Jeunesse Global purchased the note for $15 million and earlier this month started to foreclosure. The company's shares were worthless at that point.
Jenkins also remarked on the unusual situation where the original capital that brought TSG-MV in as additional owners was turned into a loan.
"Ordinarily, in many situations where you have financial difficulties, often creditors end up as owner," Jenkins said, "and it's somewhat unusual for owners to end up as creditors. That's worthwhile looking at."
MonaVie and Bankers Trust are being sued on behalf of employees over the sharp decline in the ESOP shares and MonaVie's failure to pay off the loan as it had agreed. Bankers Trust, as trustee of the ESOP, in turn sued MonaVie.
The lawsuits are pending before Jenkins.