Sports Authority’s Stores Have Been Sold To A Trio Of Liquidators, All Will Close

Image courtesy of Nicholas Eckhart

While regular customers and employees may have hoped that the competitors of bankrupt sporting goods chain Sports Authority would bid on its stores and inventory, taking over and keeping the branches open so they could expand into new markets. While Dick’s Sporting Goods and Modell’s did bid, ultimately the winner of all remaining stores was a group of three notorious liquidators bidding together: Tiger Capital Group, Hilco Global, and Gordon Brothers. Update: the store closing sales will begin on or around May 25, and run until the end of August.

Yes, this means that all Sports Authority stores will close, and the brand will die out. Their leases will sell later to raise more cash for lenders, and it’s possible that other sporting goods stores could take over those leases. The liquidators are more interested in the merchandise: they reportedly bid 101% of the original cost of the stores’ inventory, plus $1.8 million, a source told the Wall Street Journal.

At least one of the members of that trio has probably run a particularly annoying liquidation sale that you’ve attended at some point. Hilco and Gordon Brothers together have handled liquidation sales for CompUSA, Circuit City, Linens-N-Things, Borders, Hollywood Video, Coldwater Creek, and Deb.

The three liquidators together worked with one of RadioShack’s lenders to bid on all the remaining RadioShack stores and liquidate them. Instead, the bankruptcy judge in RadioShack’s case allowed a different lender to use the retailer’s debt as currency for their bid, winning 1,740 stores and the company’s trademarks and intellectual property. That lender, Standard General, kept the RadioShack brand going by teaming up with Sprint to keep stores open and preserve thousands of jobs.

There wasn’t a chance for that in the Sports Authority auction: market leader Dick’s bid on maybe twenty stores, according to a source, and Modell’s bid on even fewer.

What didn’t sell was the former retail chain’s name, and the naming rights to the stadium where the Denver Broncos play haven’t been sold, either. Sports Authority missed its payment on the sponsorship deal that was due on May 1. The Broncos said in a court filing that they don’t want the name of their home sold without their approval.

Sports Authority Bankruptcy Auction Won by Tiger Capital-Led Group [Wall Street Journal]

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