Brookstone bankruptcy sale now official

New owners purchase Merrimack-based retailer’s brand, assets for $65 million

The $65 million bankruptcy sale of specialty retailer Brookstone’s assets officially closed last week, and the company brought in another $24 million through the sale of its Merrimack headquarters and merchandise from its shopping mall stores, which it abandoned at the end of September.

But a plan to distribute that money to creditors has yet to be proposed.

The bankrupt estate sold off the Brookstone name, along with some 35 airport stores and part ownership in some 550 Brookstone stores in China, to Bluestar Alliance LLC, a brand marketing firm in New York, and Apex Digital Inc., a consumer electronics company in California. The deal closed Oct. 25.

But the sale didn’t include the company’s Merrimack headquarters, which was sold separately in a lease-back agreement with Manchester-based Brady Sullivan Properties for a little more than $6 million.

Nor did it include 103 mall stores, including one in the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua and an outlet store at Settlers Green in North Conway. Brookstone launched the stores’ closing sales after the bankruptcy filing and on Monday disclosed the results: it garnered more than $18.7 million in gross revenue from the merchandise and more than $150,000 from the sale of fixtures and equipment.

With this cash infusion, Brookstone’s bankrupt estate will be able to pay off all of its secured debtors and a large part of the debt owed to unsecured creditors, thanks to an agreement with Sanpower Group Co. Ltd., Brookstone’s Chinese owner and largest creditor. Sanpower had agreed to relinquish more than $126 million in debt, including $40 million owed to Sanpower’s Shenzhen’s subsidiary, SSG, Brookstone’s main supplier.

Exactly how much the creditors receive depends on the bankruptcy plan and how long it takes for it to be approved, since fees paid to bankruptcy professionals erode the estate. Brookstone has yet to file such a plan.

It is also unclear how long the Merrimack headquarters will remain open during the transition to a smaller facility or how many people will continue to work there.

In early September, Brookstone gave notice to the 90 workers employed there then that they could be laid off in 60 days, a notice required under federal and state law. But at the time, the company said the filing was a precaution and that it did not necessarily mean everyone would lose their jobs.

The company did not respond by deadline to NH Business Review’s inquiry about plans for the employees and headquarters.

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