Gordon Bros. wins bid to shutter 49 Finlay stores By Michelle Graff September 29, 2009, New York--A U.S. bankruptcy court judge has approved Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC's bid for the assets of bankrupt retailer Finlay Enterprises, court documents show, allowing the Boston-based liquidation firm to move forward with shuttering all of Finlay's stores, including Bailey Banks and Biddle and several other chains. The approval, dated Sept. 25 and signed by Judge James Peck of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, reads as follows: "The offer of Gordon Brothers, upon the terms and conditions set forth in the agency agreement and existing agreements, including the form and total consideration to be realized by the debtors pursuant to the agency agreement and the existing agreements...is the highest and best offer received by the debtors, is fair and reasonable; and is in the best interests of the debtors' estates." Gordon Brothers emerged as the highest bidder for Finlay's assets in an auction held on Sept. 23 in New York, court papers show. The liquidation firm won with an 85.75 percent equity bid on asset inventory--estimated at $116 million on the closing date--for the company's 49 "ongoing" stores, meaning that Gordon Brothers is guaranteeing that the going-out-of-business sales at those 49 stores will generate at least 85.75 percent of the aggregate cost value of the merchandise. In a press release issued by Gordon Brothers Group on Friday, one company executive called the closing of the store nameplates "historical," adding that the sales at the various stores would be aimed at holiday shoppers. "This historical event will mark the end of an era," said William Weinstein, chief investment officer at Gordon Brothers Group, in a press release issued on Friday. "Consumers will find great values at every store location. Those who arrive first will be able to choose from the broadest selection of merchandise while getting a jumpstart on the holiday buying season." The release said the liquidation sales would include discounts on brands including Mikimoto, Rolex, John Hardy, Roberto Coin, Baume and Mercier, Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard, Ebel and others, and said that brands and merchandise will vary by location. Court papers show that the 49 "ongoing stores" include 29 Bailey Banks and Biddle locations in 13 states, 14 Carlyle and Co. stores in four states, four J.E. Caldwell and Co. stores in two states, and the Park Promenade Jewellers stores in Orlando, Fla., and Winter Park, Fla. Prior to last week's auction, court papers show that Gordon Brothers already had been authorized by the court as the stalking-horse bidder for Finlay's assets, setting a baseline for all other bidders at auction with a guarantee that store-closing sales would generate 64.75 percent of the aggregate cost value of the merchandise. Per the stalking-horse agreement previously filed with the court, Gordon Brothers will continue the current going-out-of-business sales taking place in 58 specialty stores. These include a mix of Bailey Banks and Biddle, Carlyle and Co., J.E. Caldwell and Co. and Park Promenade Jewellers stores, as well as all four Congress Jewelers stores, which are all located in Florida.
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