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Dick’s Wins Golfsmith Auction, Will Save 30 Stores

Golfsmith International Holdings might live to swing another day.

Dick’s Sporting Goods won a bankruptcy auction for Golfsmith’s U.S. stores Friday with a plan to keep at least 30 of them open, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. The rest of the retailer’s locations will be liquidated by Tiger Capital Group, Gordon Brother Retail Partners and Hilco Merchant Resources and those store leases will be auctioned off at a later date.

Dick’s already has its own chain of golf stores, Golf Galaxy, with 82 stores in 30 states. According to several media reports, the winning bid was worth around $70 million and it’s not yet clear whether Dick’s will re-brand its newly-acquired Golfsmith stores as Golf Galaxy locations.

Golfsmith, once the world’s largest retailer of golf equipment, apparel and accessories, filed for Chapter 11 in September and quickly won court approval to close 20 underperforming stores. At the time it operated 109 locations. Now it’s down to 89.

The company also commenced creditor protection proceedings in Canada last month, announcing plans to sell its 55 Golf Town stores to a group led by Fairfax and CI Investments. That transaction is expected to close Oct. 31.

Sources told the Journal that liquidator Yellen Partners had placed the second-highest bid, with a plan to shutter all of Golfsmith’s stores. Additional bids came from Worldwide Golf Shops, in partnership with liquidator Great American Group, and Golf & Tennis Pro Shop, which does business as PGA Tour Superstore.

This is the second big bankruptcy-auction win for Dick’s this year, after the retailer spent $15 million to buy Sports Authority’s brand name and intellectual property in June.