August 4, 2011, 11:31 AM

A judge will rule next week on Border’s request to auction off its Internet assets

If a judge approves the request, final bids are due on Sept. 8.

Lead Photo

A bankruptcy court judge will rule Aug. 10 on the future of—and who gets to submit bids and when for the failed bookstore chain’s various intellectual property assets.

On July 29, Borders Group, No. 200 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, and the liquidation firms that currently own all of its remaining assets asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York for permission to hold an auction around Sept. 20 in New York to sell off the failed retail chain’s intellectual property. That  includes the Borders name, e-commerce site and customer data associated with its customer  loyalty program, Borders Rewards, which claimed more than 41 million members as of December 2010.

On July 21 with no higher bidders stepping forward after a bid from Direct Brands, a portfolio company of Najafi Cos., was rejected, the bankruptcy court  approved the sale of Borders’ store-related and other assets to  its major liquidation firms: Hilco Merchant Resources, Gordon Brothers Group.

If bankruptcy judge Martin Glenn approves the auction request next Wednesday, Borders would hire Streambank LLC, a Boston intellectual property consulting firm, to assist in preparing for an auction of its various remaining assets, including key trademarks and URLs. Streambank was also the firm that conducted the final auction for the e-commerce assets of Circuit City in 2008.

If the auction is approved, Borders would also hire a consumer privacy advocate firm to oversee the sale of any sensitive loyalty program and related customer information.  Borders and the bankruptcy court also would set Sept.8 as the final deadline to receive any bids for the intellectual property assets.

In an earlier court filing, Borders, which generated web sales of about $75 million in 2010, said it has received requests from multiple parties to purchase any web or trademark assets, but didn’t release any names. In updated court documents filed on Aug. 2, Borders says it would request a stalking horse bid for its intellectual property, but didn’t disclose details. A stalking horse bid is an initial bid on a bankrupt company’s assets from an interested buyer chosen by the bankrupt company that sets the floor for minimum acceptable bids.

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