May 29, 2009, 12:00 AM

A tale of two bankruptcies: Systemax nabs CircuitCity.com; Linens ‘N’ Things re-emerges

CircuitCity.com is now owned by retail company Systemax Inc., and home furnishings brand Linens ‘N’ Things has re-emerged online at LNT.com as a property owned by Gordon Brothers Brands LLC and Hilco Consumer Capital L.P.

After months in bankruptcy court, two major retail brands took big steps last month toward getting back in the game. Circuit City Stores Inc.’s retail site, CircuitCity.com, is now owned by retail company Systemax Inc., and home furnishings brand Linens ‘N’ Things has re-emerged online at LNT.com as a property owned by Gordon Brothers Brands LLC and Hilco Consumer Capital L.P.

Systemax, which also owns multi­channel retailers TigerDirect and CompUSA, acquired the assets of CircuitCity.com, including customer data, as the winning bidder in Circuit City’s bankruptcy court proceedings.

At a May 11 auction, which was held in the New York office of Circuit City’s bankruptcy law firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Systemax’s $14 million bid was approved over four other bids. Information on the other bidders, and how much they bid, was not disclosed.

Systemax has not revealed its plans for CircuitCity.com, but as part of its final bid it has agreed to pay bankrupt Circuit City Stores an initial amount of $14 million in cash and guaranteed that Circuit City’s share of future revenue will be at least $3 million, Systemax says in its recently filed quarterly report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Three months after it was acquired in a bankruptcy auction, the e-commerce site of Linens ‘N’ Things, LNT.com, officially relaunched last month.

Besides bedding and bath products, the new site features pet supplies, baby gear and luggage. The site also offers a 10% grand opening discount on orders over $50 and free shipping on purchases of $99 or more.

In February, Gordon Brothers Brands LLC and Hilco Consumer Capital L.P. purchased the intellectual property assets of Linens ‘N’ Things, including the LNT.com web site and other Internet domains owned by the retailer, which declared bankruptcy in May 2008.

The LNT.com web site ceased operations in mid-February, then quietly started up again about a month later, says Carlyle Coutinho, vice president of operations for Hilco.

“It was a soft launch, we weren’t doing any real marketing, just testing the site, letting consumers do commerce and increasing the number of vendors,” he said when LNT.com re-emerged on May 12.

don@verticalwebmedia.com

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