HHGregg Inc. disclosed late Thursday that its proposed purchase by an anonymous buyer has fallen through and that it now is considering the sale of some or all the business to other possible suitors. The struggling company, which filed for Chapter 11 reorganization March 6, said at that time that it had reached an agreement to sell the business to an undisclosed party. The buyer was supposed to help HHGregg experience a “quick and smooth process through Chapter 11, with emergence in approximately 60 days.”
Total Retail’s Take: And the plot thickens: The mystery bidder here appears to be the retailer’s ad agency, Zimmerman Advertising, which is an unsecured creditor owed more than $6 million. A dispute arose earlier this month after HHGregg sought to earmark $6 million of the $8 million being set aside to pay critical vendors for Zimmerman, a move that HHGregg said was a condition of its proposed sale. Setting aside funds for critical vendors is common in bankruptcy because they otherwise might refuse to continue doing business with the bankrupt company. However, the idea of setting aside three-quarters of the money for one vendor spawned a written objection from Haier US Appliance Solutions, maker of appliances sold under the GE brand.