Thousands of RadioShack stores face imminent closure as the 94-year-old company’s bankruptcy nears a close.
On Thursday, a judge is set to sign off on whatever deal the company puts together over the next couple of days.
As of right now, Standard General, which loaned RadioShack money last year, is offering to buy about 1,740 stores. Standard General’s plan is for Sprint to occupy up to one-third of retail space at those stores to sell mobile devices and wireless plans. Under that deal, Sprint will be the primary brand on the storefronts, but the RadioShack name will live on inside of the stores.
Today, The Wall Street Journal and Reuters are both reporting that Standard General raised its initial $145 million bid by at least $20 million, according to sources. It also is committed to keeping some 7,500 RadioShack jobs. The bid, however, is meeting some opposition because it’s mostly offering to cancel debts owed by RadioShack, rather than offering to pay cash.
Besides the offer by Standard General and Sprint, video game retailer GameStop also plans to buy up to 163 stores, but that still leaves more than 2,000 stores without a buyer.
Those stores could close as soon as the end of the month as RadioShack struggles to pay rent, Reuters reports.
The only other potential bidders identified as having an interest are a team of liquidators, who propose closing the stores and selling the inventory and fixtures. Some may be rooting for that option because it could mean no future for the company.
In February, reports suggested that Amazon was interested in some of RadioShack’s locations, where it could show off its hardware devices like the Fire Phone and Kindle tablet. The stores could also serve as pickup and drop-off center for online customers.
While Amazon has showed more interest in having physical stores as of lately, an instant footprint in many of the country’s most densely populated neighborhoods and communities may be too much of a leap. Additionally, one expert suggested that RadioShacks were too big and too expensive if the online retailer was only looking for a souped up warehouse.
So far, a bid from Amazon hasn’t materialized.