Edwin Watts Golf Shops files for bankruptcy, seeks sale

Mon Nov 4, 2013 10:51am EST
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By Tom Hals

(Reuters) - Edwin Watts Golf Shops LLC, which has about 90 stores in the U.S. Southeast, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday due to increased competition and waning enthusiasm for the sport, according to a court filing.

The retailer, owned by private equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc, will seek a sale of its assets by December 6 through a court-supervised auction, according to papers filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Some stores are expected to be closed as a result of the bankruptcy, although Chief Financial Officer Lynda Barr did not say how many in an affidavit filed with the court.

An initial or stalking horse bid was reached with a joint venture of Hilco Merchant Resources LLC, a liquidator, and GWNE Inc, which plans to operate the stores it buys.

A company spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company listed estimated liabilities and assets of $100 million to $500 million.

PNC Bank, which is owed $50 million under a secured financing agreement, will lend Edwin Watts Golf Shops $38 million to keep it operating until the sale is completed.

The Fort Walton Beach, Florida-based company sells golf equipment, apparel, and accessories through its stores and also via its website.   Continued...