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Published: Tuesday, 9/20/2011

Owner makes bid for assets of MedCorp

Offer for bankrupt firm tops New York fund’s, court is told

A bankruptcy judge has told Richard Bage to deposit $500,000 by 4 p.m. Wednesday or MedCorp will be sold to a unit of a New York fund. A bankruptcy judge has told Richard Bage to deposit $500,000 by 4 p.m. Wednesday or MedCorp will be sold to a unit of a New York fund.
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The owner of Toledo ambulance firm MedCorp Inc. is making a bid to buy the assets of his company, which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

During a hearing Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, MedCorp founder Richard Bage said he has formed a company called UnivEMS LLC that is prepared to buy the assets of MedCorp. According to a court filing, Mr. Bage said that UnivEMS’ offer would be of a “value appreciably greater” than a pending bid from Enhanced Equity Fund LP, a New York City fund. Enhanced Equity has offered at least $5.5 million in cash to buy MedCorp’s assets, plus $1.4 million to buy property owned by a MedCorp-affiliated business unit.

John McHugh III, an attorney for Mr. Bage, said UnivEMS plans to offer $5.5 million for operating assets, plus $1.5 million for real estate and $200,000 for other assets of MedCorp. Mr. Bage joined with other investors in UnivEMS’s offer, Mr. McHugh said, but he declined to identify the additional parties.

“[Mr. Bage] would continue to run the business operations just as he previously had with MedCorp,” Mr. McHugh said.

A representative for Enhanced Equity could not be reached for comment Monday.

MedCorp filed for bankruptcy protection in June after Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Gary Cook ordered the company’s sale to Enhanced Equity. The bankruptcy filing, submitted by Mr. Bage, halted the pending deal, which was part of a receivership case.

Trustee John Graham, who is overseeing MedCorp’s finances, asked Judge Richard Speer last month to approve the sale of MedCorp’s assets to American Ambulette & Ambulance Service Inc., a Dayton ambulance firm that is owned by Enhanced Equity.

In Monday’s filing, Judge Speer ordered UnivEMS and American Ambulette to submit a deposit of $500,000 to Mr. Graham by 4 p.m. tomorrow. If UnivEMS misses that deadline, Judge Speer will grant the sale of MedCorp to American Ambulette.

Mr. McHugh said he expects Univ- EMS will meet the deposit deadline as well as a separate deadline requiring UnivEMS to submit a purchase agreement for MedCorp by 4 p.m. Friday.

This is the second time that Mr. Bage has competed against Enhanced Equity to buy his company. He bid at least $5.5 million in cash in Lucas County court earlier this year.

However, Judge Cook disqualified the offer, in part because Mr. Bage did not provide proof he had financing to back his offer and had not submitted $1 million in earnest money, as was required under bid rules.

MedCorp has about 720 employees at 22 facilities in Ohio. More than 200 are in Toledo.

Both UnivEMS and Enhanced Equity say they plan to keep the ambulance company’s headquarters, administrative functions, and employees in Toledo and retain the MedCorp name if the company’s sale goes through.

A hearing in the case is set for 11:30 a.m. Sept. 30.

Contact Sheena Harrison at: sharrison@theblade.com or 419-724-6103.

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