Ann Arbor, Mich. -- Borders Group on Thursday won court approval to liquidate its remaining 399 stores, even as it negotiates to sell up to 35 stores to Books-a-Million.
"This is a bittersweet day," said U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn before a packed courtroom. "There are a lot of sad people around the country, a lot of sad people in the corporate headquarters. But there has been a late-breaking development."
Borders had alluded to an interested buyer earlier, and it court on Thursday it identified the possible suitor as Books-a-Million in court. Based in Birmingham, Ala., Books-a-Million wants to buy the leases and assets of 30 to 35 Borders stores.
The judge told Borders to get the offer from Books-a-Million in writing. A scheduled hearing was put on hold so the company could have time to document terms of the last-minute offer.
A liquidation group led by Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC, Borders will start going-out-of-business sales Friday at nearly all the chain’s stores.
Borders will keep the rights to its brand name and leases and hold separate auction processes for those assets. Gordon Brothers’ DJM Realty will market the leases.
Borders has said it plans to close all of its stores in phases by September.