Lincoln Crossing

At least two companies emerged Monday that may want to keep at least some Gordmans stores open. Shown here is the Gordmans store at Lincoln Crossing near 27th and Superior streets.

Even though Gordmans said in a bankruptcy filing last week that it couldn't find a buyer willing to keep the Omaha-based chain's stores open, at least two possibilities emerged on Monday.

Former Gordmans CEO Jeff Gordman filed an affidavit Monday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nebraska saying he has formed a company with the intention to bid to purchase a "majority" of its assets "on a going concern basis."

Gordman is the great-grandson of company founder Sam Richman. In his time as CEO, he facilitated Gordmans' sale to private equity company Sun Capital Partners in 2008 and helped to take the company public in 2010.

Another potential bidder is Houston-based Stage Stores, which operates Bealls Department Stores.  It said in a court filing that it is potentially interested in a "substantial number" of Gordmans' more than 100 stores in 22 states and at least one of its warehouses.

The filings came after a group of creditors over the weekend encouraged the bankruptcy court to slow down the process.

A committee of unsecured creditors led by Omaha-based Werner Enterprises said in a filing over the weekend that slowing down the process would make it more likely a bidder would emerge that wants to keep at least some of the stores open, which could bring more money for creditors and keep at least some of the more than 5,000 employees in their jobs.

In its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing March 13, Gordmans said in court documents that it  invited more than 100 potential buyers to examine its books before it filed for bankruptcy, and not a single one was interested in buying the company. It then entered into what is called a "stalking horse" deal, where it selected a bidder at a preapproved price, and any other bidders who emerge must top that price.

Gordmans' deal with Tiger Capital Group LLC and Great American Group LLC calls for it to get at least $74 million based on a projection that its inventory will sell for between $145 million and $153 million.

Competing bids are due by March 27. Stage Stores asked to have the deadline extended to March 28. Gordman asked to have it extended to March 30.

A complicating factor is a bid provision that requires any bidder that wants to keep Gordmans open to purchase at least $10 million in inventory from Tiger Capital Group LLC and Great American Group LLC.

Jeff Gordman said in his affidavit that he will not bid on the company if that provision remains. The creditors committee also asked to have that provision dropped.

Stage Stores said in its filing that it is working with the stalking horse bidder.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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