A buyer has emerged for Edwin Watts Golf Shops, which declared bankruptcy last month.
GWNE, Inc., an affiliate of Worldwide Golf Shops, and liquidator Hilo Merchant Resources, LLC, have emerged as the combined bidders to take over the company's assets in an auction that ended early Wednesday. A judge in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware is expected to hold a hearing on the sale's approval on Thursday, according to the Wall St. Journal.
The price tag? $40 million. That figure is $5 million lower than the price floor the same joint venture had planned to set initially in late November.
RELATED: Edwin Watts files for bankruptcy
According to the Edwin Watts bankruptcy filing on Nov. 4, the company agreed to sell certain assets to GWNE, Inc., which operates Golfers Warehouse, Van’s Golf Shops, Roger Dunn Golf Shops and The Golf Mart. Hilo Merchant Resources would then liquidate the remaining stores. Assuming the sale is approved, it remains unclear how many of the 90 brick-and-mortar Edwin Watts stores the new owners intend to keep open.
Sun Capital Partners Inc. bought Edwin Watts in 2007, followed shortly thereafter by the Great Recession. The company's struggled to stay afloat through the recession, then failed to emerge stronger amid a recovering economy.
Recently, Watts executives have blamed their sales doldrums on everything from weather conditions -- the National Golf Federation said in Sept. 2013 total rounds played were down 5.2% year over year -- to, in a court filing, what the company's chief financial officer, Lynda Barr, termed the failed launch of an unspecified golf club.
Edwin Watts founded the company in a Florida panhandle pro shop in 1968, eventually expanding the retail footprint throughout 15 states and a short-lived experimental run inside certain Sears department stores.