Bill Heard's empire is headed for a quick breakup.
Hours after Bill Heard Enterprises Inc. filed for Chapter 11 protection in an Alabama court last week, the company signed an agreement with GMAC Financial Services to sell eight of its 14 stores by Oct. 14.
GMAC isn't buying the dealerships, but it is a creditor. It is joining another floorplan lender, Alphera Financial Services, a division of BMW Financial Services, in loaning Heard a combined $6.7 million to pay for Heard's liquidation.
An agreement with a third floorplan lender, JPMorgan Chase Bank, is expected any day.
The lenders have a keen interest in seeing the dealerships sell quickly. According to court documents, Heard Enterprises owes its floorplan lenders a combined $229 million. The faster the dealerships reopen and sell some vehicles, the better chance the lenders have to recoup those debts.
But it's unclear who will buy those stores. Robert Rubin, an attorney for Bill Heard Enterprises, told Judge Jack Caddell of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Decatur, Ala., last week that he had received a "substantial number" of phone calls from dealers all over the country expressing interest in buying the dealerships.