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VOL. 126 | NO. 77 | Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Davis-Kidd Hits Auction Block

The Associated Press/ The Daily News Staff

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – Five remaining stores in the Joseph-Beth Booksellers’ chain are going on the auction block Wednesday.

Joseph-Beth operates Davis-Kidd Booksellers at 387 Perkins Road Extended, in East Memphis’ Laurelwood shopping center.

A call to the Laurelwood store was not returned by press time.

Lawyers in the case expect several bidders will want to buy and operate the chain, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Four of the chain’s nine stores have closed as part of a bankruptcy, and company leader Neil Van Uum had hoped to emerge a healthier bookseller without the under-performing stores. But some creditors rejected his plan, making an auction necessary.

The Daily News reported in March the creditors had filed a court motion arguing Joseph-Beth should pursue liquidation instead of reorganization.

“In the exercise of their business judgment, and to maximize the return to the (bankruptcy) estate, the debtors believe it is appropriate to continue current operations at the continuing stores, while concurrently marketing the stores through an auction process, with a goal of selling the stores as a going concern no later than April 27,” the company wrote at the time.

Joseph-Beth filed for bankruptcy protection in November after suffering declining sales the past five years.

The Wednesday auction will include the Memphis Davis-Kidd, as well as Joseph-Beth stores in Lexington, Cincinnati and Fredericksburg, Va., and a Joseph-Beth health-themed bookstore in Cleveland.

Bidders can offer to buy any or all of the company.

When the five remaining stores in the Joseph-Beth Booksellers’ chain are auctioned along with its inventory, one of the chief bidders is expected to be the man who built the chain.

“I’ve put 25 years into this, and I’m prepared to go into this and win it,” company leader Van Uum said of the auction, which will be held behind closed doors starting at 10 a.m. at the Cincinnati offices of Joseph-Beth’s attorneys.

Joseph-Beth filed for bankruptcy protection in November after suffering declining sales the past five years, Van Uum said at the time.

If liquidators win the bidding, they would close the stores, selling them off book by book, the Lexington newspaper reported.

The successful bidder, if approved by the bankruptcy court at a later date, would own what remains of the company free and clear of any liens and claims.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 72 327 11,765
MORTGAGES 76 371 15,350
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 41 112 3,023
BUILDING PERMITS 382 972 28,226
BANKRUPTCIES 65 345 11,307
BUSINESS LICENSES 19 117 4,155
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 184 700 17,184
MARRIAGE LICENSES 20 100 3,564

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