Sports Authority

A U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware has approved the sale of certain assets of The Sports Authority to a consortium that will begin liquidating the retailer.

The consortium is comprised of Gordon Brothers, Hilco Merchant Resources and Tiger Capital Group. They will begin going-out-of-business sales at all Sports Authority locations beginning on Thursday.

Michael Foss, chief executive officer of the retail chain, said, “Words cannot adequately express the disappointment we feel with the need to shut down our stores. We pursued both a plan of reorganization, as well as a sale of our business, but were unsuccessful in reaching an agreement that would have allowed Sports Authority to operate.”

Modell’s Sporting Goods and Dick’s Sporting Goods are interested in some of the retailer’s leases and an auction for the leases will be held later on. An auction will also be held at some point for the sale of the retailer’s name and intellectual property assets.

The sporting goods big box filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection on March 2. The company determined on April 26 that a reorganization was not a feasible option.

The Sports Authority was founded in 1987 by Jack Smith, who was the former chief operating officer of Herman’s World of Sports. The big box retailer was acquired by Kmart in 1990, and then spun off as a public company in 1995. The company merged with Gart Sports, a retailer with roots going back to 1928, in 2003. Gart merged with Sportmart in 1998, and with Oshman’s in 2001. Following the merger with Gart, the stores operating under the nameplates Gart Sports, Sportmart and Oshman’s were changed to Sports Authority.

Sports Authority was acquired by private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners in January 2006 in a transaction valued at $1.4 billion. It ceased to be a public company when the deal closed.

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