Investor Group to Buy Sharper Image
New York City Bankrupt retailer Sharper Image Corp. will be sold to a joint venture of private investment groups, according to Reuters.
The joint venture led by Toronto-based investment firm Hilco Consumer Capital and a unit of Boston-based liquidation firm Gordon Bros. said it had won its so-called stalking-horse bid for the retailer of high-end gadgets and appliances. In a stalking-horse bid, the bankrupt company chooses the entity from a pool of bidders to make the first bid for its assets.
The firms said they had developed a licensing strategy for the Sharper Image brand and will partner with several global institutions to continue development of the company.
Stephen Miller of Gordon Brothers Brands said, “We envision this to be a terrific opportunity to transform a tier-one, iconic American brand into a global, multi-channel platform of diverse and unique consumer products using leading technologies and trend-setting innovations. This reflects the core transformational competencies of the joint venture partners and we look forward to working with new licensees to grow the brand worldwide and in multiple categories.”
Windsong Brands and Crystal Capital also partnered to buy the retailer through the bid.
The company had put itself up for sale last month after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February, saying a sale was the best route given the weak U.S. economy and tight credit.
Stobb named investor relations head at Goodyear
AKRON, Ohio The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. announced that Patrick Stobb has joined the company as director of investor relations. Stobb will report to Darren Wells, Goodyear’s senior vp of finance and strategy.
Prior to joining Goodyear, Stobb was director of investor relations for TRW Automotive Holdings since 2003. He also held a variety of investor relations and finance positions with the Visteon from 2000 to 2003 and the Ford Motor Co. from 1997 to 2000.
Mervyns to open new stores, launch Web site
HAYWARD, Calif. Mervyns said it plans to open five new stores in its core markets in 2009. This brings the total number of new Mervyns stores to 17 since the company was acquired by its private equity owners three years ago, and reflects its commitment to maintaining a dominant real estate position in California and the Southwest. Concurrently, Mervyns reported it has engaged DJM Realty, LLC, one of the nation’s leading real estate advisory firms, to sell 5-10 underperforming, but high real-estate-value, stores. The real estate portfolio transition is expected to generate $25 to $50 million in cash to fund operations and new growth initiatives.
The company also announced it will launch a fully integrated e-commerce Web site in the fourth quarter of 2008. Mervyns said the e-commerce Web site presents a new growth vehicle and multi-channel opportunity for existing and new customers nationwide, and forecasts that the online platform could quickly grow into a $50 million business. Mervyns will partner with a nationally recognized provider of turnkey order entry and fulfillment services in launching its Web site.
Ceo John Goodman commented, “We have a plan that centers around our consumer and her needs, and we are putting the capital and people resources behind it to not only overcome the current difficult retail climate, but to gain market share and reinvigorate the Mervyns brand.”