Sports Authority, Still Seeking Buyer, Says It's Not Liquidating

Sports Authority Inc., still seeking a buyer, has no current plan to liquidate, a lawyer for the bankrupt retailer said.

“Liquidation is not in our vocabulary,” Robert Klyman of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, who represents the ailing sporting-goods chain, told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary Walrath Tuesday in Wilmington, Delaware.

That doesn’t mean the company has found a committed buyer for some of its more than 450 locations. Klyman told the judge that a “stalking horse,” who would set the floor in any asset auction, hasn’t been designated.  

“We hope to have material parties coming in to bid,” he said. 

Sports Authority filed for bankruptcy court protection in March, saddled with debt piled up from a $1.3 billion buyout 10 years ago. At the time of filing, the Englewood, Colorado-based retailer announced plans to slim down and continue operating after exiting Chapter 11.

Still, if no viable bids come in by next week’s deadline, the chain could face liquidation.

An asset auction is set for May 16, as is a separate auction for about 140 leases on stores the company does intend to liquidate. At that sale, two bidders will compete for some of those leases, according to court papers Sports Authority filed Tuesday.

The case is In re Sports Authority Holdings Inc., 16-10527, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

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