Court Approves Friedman’s Auction Request

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., on Feb. 22 approved Friedman’s Inc.’s request to sell the leases to its stores and other assets at an auction set for March 6, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Friedman’s and subsidiary Crescent Jewelers Inc., which is also under Chapter 11 protection, operate more than 470 stores across the country. 

The jewelry retailer asked for a quick sale process before its $17.5 million bankruptcy loan from Harbinger Capital Partners Master Fund I Ltd. runs out by the end of March, the newspaper reports.

The first competing bid must exceed $500,000, the newspaper reports. The retailer and its official committee of unsecured creditors won court permission to determine the increments by which subsequent bids must increase.

Bids for the assets will be due March 3, and interested parties have through the following day to file any objections to the bids, the newspaper reports. Several landlords had objected to this timeframe, saying it didn’t give them sufficient time to evaluate their prospective new tenants.

Bankruptcy Judge Christopher S. Sontchi will consider whether to give final approval to the winning bidder at a hearing set for March 7, the day after the auction, the newspaper reports.

Friedman’s and Crescent filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Jan. 28.