Despite a 14-hour hearing yesterday in federal bankruptcy court, Family Christian Stores must still wait for a ruling on whether the struggling Christian bookstore chain will be sold to FC Acquisitions, which plans to keep the stores open. If FC Acquisitions does not get the chain, a liquidator will likely get the retailer and sell off its assets.
Judge John Gregg, who presided over the hearing in Grand Rapids, Mich., will decide the fate of Family Christian Stores, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. He gave no date for handing down the decision.
Family Christian Stores, the largest Christian bookstore chain in the U.S. with 266 stores in 36 states, was purchased by Richard L. Jackson, an Atlanta businessman, in 2012. FC Acquisitions, which was named the “highest and best” bidder at an auction held several weeks ago in an attempt to sell the chain, as well as FC Special Funding LLC which provided the funding to FC Acquisitions, are controlled by Jackson.
Hilco Merchant Resources LLC and Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC were named the second highest bidder at the auction, but asked for its objections to be heard at the hearing on Monday. That portion of the hearing began at midday Tuesday and lasted until just after 11 p.m.
The hearing was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. today, but attorneys and company representatives spent several hours hammering out deals between Family Christian Stores, its unsecured creditors, and Credit Suisse, which is owed $34 million as a secured creditor. A breakthrough came when Credit Suisse agreed to accept $5.45 million from Family Christian Stores, just 16% of what it was owed. A coalition of unsecured creditors, including Baker Publishing Group, Kregel Publications and nearly 40 others, also accepted the deal, though no information is available on the terms.
However, that deal, reached yesterday morning, is on hold pending Gregg’s decision. Gregg may also decide to reopen the bidding for Family Christian Stores.