Worldwide Golf eyes U.S. assets of bankrupt chain Golfsmith -sources

Thu Oct 6, 2016 7:15pm EDT
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By Jessica DiNapoli

Oct 6 (Reuters) - Worldwide Golf Shops is exploring an offer for the U.S. business of bankrupt chain Golfsmith International Holdings Inc, according to people familiar with the matter, as the golf retail sector grapples with the sport's waning popularity.

Golfsmith suffered in part because of the decline of the so-called Tiger Woods phenomenon. When the golf superstar's career began to fade, some of the many young fans he attracted to the sport also lost interest.

Golfsmith, the world's largest specialty golf retailer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States and for creditor protection in Canada last month, amid fierce competition from discount retailers Wal Mart Stores Inc and Inc.

Golfsmith's owner is OMERS Private Equity Inc, the buyout arm of one of Canada's largest pension funds.

Golfsmith, which has 109 stores across the United States, filed for bankruptcy with a plan to find a buyer for its U.S. business, reorganize on a smaller scale or liquidate, according to court documents.

Bids for Golfsmith's U.S. business are due on Oct. 17, and an auction is scheduled for two days later, with the goal of closing a sale before the start of the holiday season, according to court documents. Golfsmith is already shutting down some stores to save money.

It is not yet clear if Worldwide Golf is eyeing the entire U.S. business of Golfsmith or individual assets, the people said this week.

There are also financial investors interested in the U.S. business of Golfsmith, one of the people added.   Continued...