Spencer Spirit Holdings, the Egg Harbor Township-based owner of Spencer’s and Spirit Halloween stores, is working with retailer Brookstone on an agreement to acquire the company in a pre-packaged Chapter 11 reorganization.
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Spencer Spirit may face a competing bid from Blucora, which owns online retailer Monoprice, as well as InfoSpace and TaxAct. The newspaper said the company is preparing an all-cash bid for Brookstone.
Spencer Spirit didn’t respond to requests Monday for comment on the acquisition effort.
The company previously said in a joint statement with Brookstone — which sells a wide range of consumer goods such as massage, outdoor and bedroom products — that if the takeover succeeds, Brookstone’s 240 stores, catalog, website and wholesale channels would continue to operate under that brand with their current employees.
“Brookstone is a well-recognized brand with a long history of selling a unique assortment of innovative consumer products,” Steven Silverstein, Spencer Spirit chief executive officer, said in the statement. “We see many similarities between the Spencer Spirit and Brookstone business models and are excited to begin sharing knowledge and building a strong future together.”
The Wall Street Journal, citing “people familiar with the matter,” said Spencer Spirit’s bid includes $120 million in cash and the assumption of about $140 million in Brookstone debt.
Merrimack, N.H.-based Brook-stone started in 1965 as a seller of hard-to-find tools and evolved to sell unusual and innovative consumer products. Brook-stone has operated a temporary store during the Christmas holiday season in recent years at the Hamilton Mall in Mays Landing.
The company was taken private by a trio of investment firms in 2005, which burdened it with debt just ahead of the severe economic downturn.
In its third quarter results, released Nov. 5, it reported sales decreased 7.3 percent from the prior year period, to $88 million. Meanwhile, its adjusted quarterly loss was trimmed 10 percent to $5 million.
Specialty lifestyle retailer Spen-cer’s, founded in 1947, operated 644 stores in the U.S. and Canada as of the end of last year. Spirit operated 1,052 seasonal Halloween stores last year in the U.S. and Canada.
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