Sharper Image finds a buyer

Sharper Image Corp., which had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February, has been acquired. A joint venture led by units of private investment firms Hilco Consumer Capital Corp. and Gordon Brothers Group bought the gifts and gadgets merchant in late May.

According to reports, the joint venture, which also includes Windsong Brands and Crystal Capital, will pay $49 million plus some contingent recovery for assets for the San Francisco-based cataloger/retailer.

The deal, which follows a two-day auction, is subject to bankruptcy court approval. The joint venture had earlier been approved as the “stalking horse” bidder for the company.

The firms teamed up in a similar deal last year to buy the intellectual property and trade name of furniture retailer Bombay Co.

Hilco and Gordon Brothers reported earlier this month that they are developing a licensing strategy for The Sharper Image brand. What’s more, they plan to partner with several global institutions to further strengthen the company.

Sharper Image will soon be only a direct merchant, as the new owners have no interest in keeping the stores going: They announced in early June that the remaining 86 stores will be closed (97 Sharper Image stores across the country had been closed and liquidated in February). Inventory worth more than $50 million of will be sold through store closeout sales.

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