REVERE — An offer to buy the New England Confectionery Co. (Necco) has been rejected by a federal judge and a bankruptcy auction has been scheduled for later this month.
The future of the Revere company and their famous Necco Wafers, Sky Bars, Mary Janes, and Sweethearts is uncertain. The 171-year-old confectionary firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April following a petition by three creditors who said they are owed more than $1.6 million, according to court documents.
Necco asked a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in Boston to approve a $13.3 million sale to Gordon Brothers, a Boston investment firm. The candy company argued an auction would be unlikely to produce a higher sale price, court documents said.
But the judge declined and the auction is set for May 23.
Necco CEO Michael McGee said that as of mid April, Necco had 232 full-time employees and $152 million in liabilities, according to court documents.
McGee did not return a call seeking comment.
On the company’s Facebook page, the candy company posted: “Fans, we have received an astounding amount of emails concerning the future of our company. I will do my best to get back to you all. All I can say is that we are unsure of our future, but hopeful for a buyer to keep this sweet and nostalgic brand alive for many more decades. We thank you for all your love and support.”
Last month, Al Gulachenski, Necco’s CEO from 2011 to 2015, posted a request for investors on GoFundMe, a crowdfunding website. He and a group of former employees pledged if they can secure $20 million online, they will donate up to $10 million to save the company. So far, they have raised only $4,475.
In the wake of complaints that his effort could violate securities laws, Gulachenski posted the following message on the page: “We have been informed by several people that we cannot offer shares in the company in return for your donations. We are sorry, we do not know if they are right or wrong, but we can’t take the chance. If you would like us to return your donation just let us know.”
Gulachenski could not be reached for comment.