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Bon-Ton Moves One Step Closer to Rescue

The Bon-Ton Stores has pushed its auction date out after receiving a letter of intent from a group that includes its landlords.

The retail group, which entered into bankruptcy protection in February, announced on Monday that an investor group made up of asset manager DW Partners and real estate companies Namdar Realty Group and Washington Prime Group is in the process of finalizing an asset purchase agreement. As a result, the bankruptcy auction, which was set to take place on April 13, will now take place on April 16 instead.

“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. 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,” said Bon-Ton president and CEO Bill Tracy.

If the group wins the auction, the department store chain will receive a lifeline.

Washington Prime Group and Namdar Realty both own mall properties where Bon-Ton and stores carrying additional its banners operate. By rescuing the department store, those companies insulate themselves from the negative effects of empty boxes.

DW Partners is an alternative asset manage, specializing in corporate debt and structure finance.

Bon-Ton started the year off on an ominous note. In January, it entered into forbearance with its creditors. The store executives remained optimistic, however, offering up a two-year turnaround plan that touched almost every aspect of the business at the end of the month. Ultimately, the chain entered into bankruptcy just days later.