Family Christian Stores, the nation’s largest retailer of Christian books and merchandise, should have new ownership by early June under a sales process and schedule approved in bankruptcy court Tuesday, April 14.
In a hearing interrupted by several informal bargaining sessions between lawyers for the company and lawyers for vendors and lenders who stand to lose millions in the Chapter 11 proceedings, the parties settled on a schedule that should complete the sale of the company June 8.
All bids for the company must be submitted by May 18 in preparation for a May 21 auction, according to a schedule approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John T. Griggs. The winning bids will be announced May 22 and the sale is scheduled for closing June 8.
Erich Derlacher, an attorney for Family Christian, said one company has showed interest in bidding on the company as a joint venture while two potential bidders also are discussion with them.
Family Christian, headquartered at 5300 Patterson Ave. SE, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Feb. 11, claiming assets of nearly $75 million and total debts of more than $127 million.
With 266 stores in 26 states and 3,100 full-time and part-time employees, Family Christian said its sales have fallen from $305 million in 2008 to $230 million in 2014. Sales are expected to $216 million this year.
Family Christian originally proposed it be sold to Family Christian Acquisitions, a related firm and “stalking horse” bidder that would seek the court’s permission to shed much of its debt while keeping the company’s stores open.
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