Bankrupt bookstore chain Borders filed a motion on Friday to name a “stalking horse” bidder to make an initial bid on the company by July 1. An auction would follow on July 19, a hearing would take place by July 22, and the sale would wrap up by July 29. Otherwise, the company will liquidate.
Two private equity firms, the Los Angeles-based Gores Group and Najafi Companies in Phoenix, Ariz., have expressed interest in buying at least half of Borders’ remaining 405 stores. Both companies invest in distressed companies. Najafi Companies has more book publishing background–it bought Direct Brands, which includes several book clubs including Book of the Month Club, in 2008. However, he Detroit News reports that Gores Group “is thought by industry watchers to be the stalking horse bidder.”
Borders has closed 237 stores since filing for bankruptcy in February. It reached an agreement with lender GE last week to avoid closing 51 more stores.