Axium is seeking a buyer


Related story: Axium International closes up shop

A buyer is actively being sought for defunct Axium International, according to court-appointed trustee Howard Ehrenberg. The Los Angeles-headquartered payroll company ceased operations suddenly on Tuesday and its bank accounts have been frozen.

"There are very interested parties," Ehrenberg, a partner in law firm SulmeyerKupetz, said Wednesday night. "I have essentially been on the phone nonstop talking with concerned customers but also talking with potential buyers. I'm hopeful that I can find a buyer for not just the company's valuable proprietary software ... but also the customer's payroll services."

As far as how long such a deal might take, Ehrenberg said, "To do this in days is asking a lot, but I believe that there are people out there that know enough about Axium that can make such an offer and consummate it in a very short time."

As to what prompted the sudden action, Ehrenberg said that on Friday, Golden Tree Asset Management in New York -- Axium's primary lender -- "swept Axium's bank accounts and seized $22 million, leaving Axium unable to honor any of its payroll obligations or even to operate itself."

He said he believed Golden Tree lent the company $140 million in total.

Axium filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday. According to documents filed at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the central district of California, Axium has between $100 million and $500 million in estimated assets as well as liabilities in the same range.

IATSE, the WGA and 20th Century Fox Television are among the 98 creditors listed.

The company, which maintained offices in Los Angeles, Burbank, New York, Toronto and London, was also a source for production and gap financing.

"It's a huge company. It's going to be devastating to many in the entertainment industry," one source said.

Axium competitors Entertainment Partners and Media Services said they have been flooded with calls from prospective clients since the news surfaced that Axium was in trouble.