Sharper Image has approval to sell

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The Sharper Image Corp. has received approval from US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to sell itself at a bankruptcy auction later this month.

A joint venture between Hilco Consumer Capital and GB Brands said that it was approved as the stalking horse bidder. The approved asset purchase agreement is an offer to purchase the company's intellectual property, intellectual property rights and to liquidate merchandise for a case payment of $51.25 million. Windsong Brands and Crystal Capital are also part of the partnership to acquire Sharper Image.

In a stalking-horse bid, the bankrupt company chooses the entity from a pool of bidders to make the first bid for its assets.

The bidding companies said they have developed a global licensing strategy for wholesale, retail, direct-to-retail, e-commerce and catalog businesses for The Sharper Image.

"GB Brands envisions this to be a terrific opportunity to transform a tier-one, iconic American brand into a global, multichannel platform of diverse and unique consumer products using leading technologies and trend-setting innovations,” said Stephen Miller of GB Brands, in a statement. “This reflects the core transformational competencies of the joint venture partners and we look forward to working with new licensees to grow the brand worldwide and in multiple categories."

The auction is scheduled for May 28.

Hilco Consumer Capital acquired The Bombay Company Inc.'s intellectual property and its URL in February. At the time, Hilco said it would focus on revitalizing, extending and maximizing the value of the Bombay brand through a licensing strategy.

Sharper Image filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February. Jerry W. Levin resigned his position as chairman of the board at Sharper Image in April in order to pursue acquiring some or all of Sharper Image's businesses or assets.

Sharper Image's sales started declining several years ago and haven't stopped. For the fiscal year ended January 31, Sharper Image said comparable store sales decreased 13%. Company sales totaled $374.9 million, a decrease of 26% compared to the previous year.

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