A new investor who had been looking to purchase BottleRock and pay off its $2.5 million debt has reportedly walked away, leaving the future of the festival bleak.
On Wednesday, Napa Valley Expo CEO Joe Anderson said he had received the news from the potential investor’s attorney Tuesday morning, just hours before the Expo’s board of directors was to discuss a contract for a return of the festival in 2014.
Anderson said he could not reveal the potential investor that has now walked away, but said it was not Live Nation as many had thought.
“They pulled out about a month ago,” Anderson said of Live Nation.
BottleRock had also been scheduled to give a presentation on the money it owes to the Expo, city of Napa, numerous private companies and the employees of a local union.
An hour before the meeting was to begin, Anderson said he received a call from BottleRock co-founder Bob Vogt alerting him there would be no presentation.
Vogt and BottleRock’s attorney Matt Eisenberg did not return calls for comment Wednesday morning.
Live Nation is at least the second potential investor to walk away from BottleRock. According to documents obtained from the Expo, Musiek Media Group Inc. had shown interest in investing in BottleRock.
In late May, the company sent Vogt and fellow co-founder Gabriel Meyers a letter of intent to buy a 10 percent interest in BottleRock for $4 million. The agreement was to be finalized June 14 but was never completed.
In closed session Tuesday, the Expo Board of Directors decided to pursue “collections” on the $310,938 it is still owed by the five-day May festival. Anderson said he would be conferring with the California Attorney General and the state Controller’s Office, as well as the Expo’s legal council on how to best seek payment.
Anderson said it is too soon to say what course the collections process will take and whether it could result in a lawsuit.
BottleRock has already paid the Expo $441,724.17, covering the state-owned facilities’ costs and some profit. The outstanding debt would be all profit, Anderson said.
Based on numbers provided by the Expo in May, the Expo’s costs for BottleRock were about $169,000.
Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, Anderson said he was communicating with BottleRock daily.
The Expo board is scheduled to meet next on Nov. 26. Anderson said he does not know whether a contract for a future event will be presented then, though he doubts any such discussions will take place.
As of mid-day Wednesday, pre-sale tickets for a 2014 BottleRock could still be purchased on the festival’s website.