The auction is now set for next Monday. It was the second delay for the auction. The retailer filed a court document on Sunday night initially seeking a delay by one day to Tuesday from Monday of this week.
In a court document filed late Monday, the retailer is seeking court approval to pay a consortium a work fee as they continue discussions to finalize an agreement for the acquisition of the company. The paperwork also disclosed that the investor group is “led by Namdar Realty Group, Washington Prime Group and DW Partners LP.” The document further said the discussions center on the group purchasing “substantially all of the debtors’ assets” and assuming post-petition operating liabilities.
And while the parties and Bon-Ton have been in talks to get an agreement in place, there’s still the chance that it could be outbid by a better offer at auction. Liquidators are also expected to submit a competing bid.
Bon-Ton at the end of last month said it was in “active discussions” with parties interested in making a “going-concern bid” to acquire the retailer. While the retailer has reportedly been in talks with some landlords about a bid, a group of hedge funds that own some of the debt had been pushing for a liquidation of the company since the retailer filed its bankruptcy petition. Bon-Ton filed a voluntary petition in February in a Delaware bankruptcy court.
While the actual fate of Bon-Ton won’t be known until next week, the retailer in the meantime was legally required to file notices with different state officials indicating that the company was planning to close locations, and would shortly begin laying off employees. The notices were required due to timing issues should layoffs be required in the event that the auction resulted in a liquidator having the winning bid.
The retailer has over 22,700 employees and about 250 stores in operation across 23 states, mostly in the Northeast, Midwest and Upper Great Plains. Bon-Ton has already said it plans to shutter 47 store locations. It operates under the nameplates Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers.