Sale of Shopko’s Optical Business Still Pending as Bankruptcy Court Awaits More Information

By


GREEN BAY, Wis.—A bankruptcy court hearing to approve the $8.5 million sale of Shopko’s optical business wrapped up Thursday morning without a ruling by the judge in the Nebraska court hearing the matter, according to the court clerk’s office. The judge has asked the parties involved in the sale—Shopko and sole bidder Monarch Alternative Capital—to submit more information related to the terms of the sale, the clerk’s office told VMAIL. The hearing could resume as early as Monday, April 22. The hearing for Thursday had been scheduled as the venue for reviewing and approving Monarch’s $8.5 million offer under the terms and schedule Shopko had set out in a court filing detailing the terms of a planned auction sale.

Monarch, a New York-based investment firm, had submitted its bid for the optical business late last week after Shopko announced the details of an auction process, as VMAIL reported. Monarch officials could not be reached for comment on Thursday. No other companies submitted bids for the optical business, which includes a lab.

Shopko, which operated about 135 optical departments as recently as last year, ranked as the No. 17 retailer in the VM Top 50 U.S. Optical Retailers report with sales of almost $100 million annually. Shopko began opening freestanding optical stores in late 2018 and it had five of these locations operating as of January.

According to its court filing this week, Shopko said it expects that Monarch will take over 26 real property leases that are unexpired, and that it would acquire “all tangible property, accounts, machinery, equipment and inventories associated with the company’s optical laboratory in De Pere, Wis."

The filing also noted that the buyer will consider extending employment offers “to substantially all of the employees of the optical business, effective as of the sale closing, who are primarily engaged in the optical business at the locations being transferred to buyer.”

Last month, Monarch partnered with the real estate firm Raider Hill Advisors to buy a portfolio of 79 former Shopko store properties across the Midwest, according to an announcement at the time. Monarch focuses primarily on the debt of distressed and bankrupt companies and has “a long standing and successful track record in the distressed debt asset class,” according to its website. The purchase price it has offered for the optical assets “shall be cash in the amount of $8.5 million, plus the assumption of the assumed liabilities,” the court filing noted.