by Stephen Garner

bon-tonStruggling department store chain The Bon-Ton Stores announced on Monday that it has received a signed letter of intent from an investor group composed of DW Partners, Namdar Realty Group (including its partner Mason Asset Management), and Washington Prime Group to acquire the company through a Bankruptcy Court-supervised sale process.

Bon-Ton and the investor group are in the process of finalizing an asset purchase agreement in advance of an auction, which is now scheduled to be held on Monday, April 16. The auction is designed to achieve the highest or otherwise best offer, and is subject to, among other things, Bankruptcy Court approval and other customary conditions. A hearing to approve a sale is expected to take place later in April.

“We are pleased to have received this signed letter of intent and are advancing our discussions with the investor group to complete an asset purchase agreement as we proceed toward the court-supervised auction,” said Bill Tracy, president and chief executive officer of The Bon-Ton Stores. “With the help of our advisors, we will evaluate all qualified bids and are committed to maximizing value and pursuing the best path forward for the Company and our stakeholders. I would like to thank our talented associates, our vendors and our other partners for their ongoing support through our court-supervised restructuring process. As always, we remain focused on serving our loyal customers with quality merchandise and an exceptional shopping experience in our stores and across e-commerce and mobile platforms.”

Bon-Ton is continuing to operate in the ordinary course as the company completes its court-supervised restructuring process. Bon-Ton was required to provide notification under certain state and federal laws of potential job losses even as it works to complete a sale of the company as a going concern and is hopeful the sale process will preserve jobs.

As previously announced in February, Bon-Ton and its subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for a court-supervised financial restructuring under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The company’s stores, e-commerce and mobile platforms under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates are open and operating as usual.