Oct 6 Worldwide Golf Shops is exploring an offer
for the U.S. business of bankrupt chain Golfsmith International
Holdings Inc, according to people familiar with the
matter, as the golf retail sector grapples with the sport's
Golfsmith suffered in part because of the decline of the
so-called Tiger Woods phenomenon. When the golf superstar's
career began to fade, some of the many young fans he attracted
to the sport also lost interest.
Golfsmith, the world's largest specialty golf retailer,
filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States and for
creditor protection in Canada last month, amid fierce
competition from discount retailers Wal Mart Stores Inc
and Amazon.com Inc.
Golfsmith's owner is OMERS Private Equity Inc, the buyout
arm of one of Canada's largest pension funds.
Golfsmith, which has 109 stores across the United States,
filed for bankruptcy with a plan to find a buyer for its U.S.
business, reorganize on a smaller scale or liquidate, according
to court documents.
Bids for Golfsmith's U.S. business are due on Oct. 17, and
an auction is scheduled for two days later, with the goal of
closing a sale before the start of the holiday season, according
to court documents. Golfsmith is already shutting down some
stores to save money.
It is not yet clear if Worldwide Golf is eyeing the entire
U.S. business of Golfsmith or individual assets, the people said
There are also financial investors interested in the U.S.
business of Golfsmith, one of the people added.
The sources asked not to be identified because the
deliberations are confidential. Worldwide Golf did not respond
to a request for comment.
A Delaware bankruptcy court judge on Thursday approved the
bidding process for the company. "The court approval today
continues to keep us on track in our efforts to restructure
Golfsmith and improve its long-term viability," a Golfsmith
For its Canadian business, Golfsmith last month announced a
deal to sell its shops, operating under the name Golf Town, to a
group led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd and CI
Worldwide Golf operates golf shops under the names Roger
Dunn Golf Shops, Van's Golf Shops, Golfers' Warehouse and others
across 19 U.S. states, mostly in the West.
Golfsmith merged with Golf Town in 2012 in a bid to grow.
That deal, however, left it with too many stores and a debt pile
of $195 million when it filed for bankruptcy.
(Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Matthew