Prior to tomorrow’s hearing at which Judge Martin Glenn will rule on Borders’s impending liquidation set to start on Friday, the chain is trying to lay to rest the nearly 90 objections that have been filed, primarily from landlords regarding assumption and assigning of leases. Since most were filed before it was learned that no qualified going-concern bidder had come forward, they will be moot.
But Borders is also seeking to assure landlords that liquidators will work with them to respect shopping centers’ rules on banners and hours, and that sales won’t go past a date triggering a holiday protection payment. The agreement with the liquidation group led by Hilco and Gordon Brothers provides for 16 weeks of going-out-of-business sales.
As for the rest, Borders is working to let tax agents know that tax liens will be protected, others that books won’t be sold at closing distribution centers, and Seattle’s Best that its intellectual property will be protected. One objection, however, that Borders has lumped into its irrelevant pile comes from Kobo, which is also concerned about the value of its intellectual property. Borders owns an 11% stake and is one of the retailers selling the e-reader, along with Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Sears.
In a statement released yesterday, Kobo noted that it has begun transitioning Borders’s e-book customers to Kobo and that owners of Kobo eReaders will be able to continue to use them with no interruption in service. “We are watching Borders’s story and will offer our support to Borders and their employees,” says Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis.
Other of Borders’s intellectual property, including its name and Web site, have yet to be disposed of. However, in another turn in a bankruptcy that has taken a number of them, Borders could reveal the bidder, rumored to be Books-A-Million, for 30 of its stores, which it mentioned in its filing canceling Tuesday’s auction.