MILWAUKEE — Boston Store and other retail brands of The Bon-Ton Stores may live on after the parent company, which is in bankruptcy, received a signed letter of intent to acquire the company as a going concern.
The investor group is composed of DW Partners, Namdar Realty Group and Washington Prime Group. Bon-Ton and the investor group are in the process of finalizing an asset purchase agreement in advance of an auction, which is now scheduled for Monday.
On Friday Bon-Ton filed a notice with the state of Wisconsin of possible mass layoffs at all 13 of its Wisconsin Boston Stores including the one at Regency Mall, starting in June. The ailing retailer voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring and protection Feb. 4.
However, the investor group’s letter of intent to acquire Bon-Ton as a going concern means the investors intend to keep the stores operating. Bon-Ton’s stores, e-commerce and mobile platforms under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers brand names are open and operating as usual.
Regency Mall escaped an earlier round of Boston Store closing announcements in late January, when Bon-Ton announced plans to close 42 stores. Boston Store has been one of Regency Mall’s anchors for decades.
Bon-Ton President and CEO Bill Tracy stated in a press release from his company, “With the help of our advisors, we will evaluate all qualified bids and are committed to maximizing value and pursuing the best path forward for the company and our stakeholders.”
According to Bon-Ton, DW Partners is an alternative asset manager focused on investment in credit markets across a broad range of asset types and strategies.
Namdar Realty Group is a privately held commercial real estate investment and management firm that owns and operates more than 30 million square feet of commercial real estate in the United States.
Washington Prime Group is a retail real estate investment trust and a “recognized leader” in the ownership, management, acquisition and development of retail properties.
Bon-Ton sought and received approval from its lenders to extend the auction date to Monday.
The auction is designed to achieve the highest or otherwise best offer and is subject to, among other things, Bankruptcy Court approval and other customary conditions. A hearing to approve a sale is expected to take place later this month.