Mudcat Café message #1852935 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #95324   Message #1852935
Posted By: Joe Offer
07-Oct-06 - 04:53 PM
Thread Name: Tower Records - to be liquidated (and rise again)
Subject: RE: Tower Records
I think it's worthwhile to post the Associated Press story that sternth linked to. Tower Records was founded by Russ Solomon in Sacramento in 1960. He started out by selling records in his father's drugstore in the Tower Theater, and then opened his own store on Watt Avenue in another part of town. Later, he opened a store across the street from the theater; and that became separate book, music, and video stores, all on the same site on Broaday at 16th Street in Sacramento. That location is what I consider to be the ultimate Tower Records store, although I suppose the Hollywood store and some others are better-known. Outside of Sacramento, Tower seemed to be just another big, glitzy record store. The two main Sacramento stores (the original store on Watt, and the Broadway store) retained the original Tower funkiness, and the store managers had local control over the music and books they stocked. Those two stores had all kinds of music and books that you just couldn't find anywhere else. Well, I suppose you can find it at the online stores, but it just isn't the same. Even the Sacramento stores went downhill in the last ten years, so maybe there's not much left to be lost in the liquidation.

Tower has also been known to be an excellent employer, one that treated employees fairly and provided fair wages and good benefits. It's sad to see Tower go, but it's especially sad for Sacramento. The headline on today's Sacramento Bee is The Song Is Over. It's too bad, but Tower Records, as it once was, died about ten years ago.

Here's the article:

Group plans to liquidate Tower Records
By RANDALL CHASE, AP Business Writer
Fri Oct 6, 7:16 PM ET

After a lengthy auction stretching over two days, a federal bankruptcy judge on Friday approved the sale of California-based Tower Records to Great American Group, which plans to liquidate the music retailer.

After almost 30 hours of what attorneys described as "robust" and "vigorous" bidding, Great American won with a bid of $134.3 million, beating Trans World Entertainment, which had hoped to continue operating at least some Tower stores, by a single bid increment of $500,000.

Peter Gurfein, an attorney representing Tower Records, said the company will be sold for an aggregate of $150 million, including the sale of various leases and properties.

Gurfein said Great American plans to begin the liquidation process and going out of business sales on Saturday, which eventually will result in the elimination of the jobs of some 3,000 Tower employees.

"This is not an easy decision," said bankruptcy Judge Brendan Shannon, who nevertheless noted that the Tower debtors and other parties had agreed the bidding process was conducted fairly and in good faith.

Tower Records, which has 89 stores in 20 states and owes creditors about $200 million, filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in August. In its filing, the company said it has been hurt by an industrywide decline in music sales, downloading of online music and competition from big-box stores such as Wal-Mart.

Tower's Chapter 11 filing came two years after initial reorganization that resulted in bondholders forgiving millions of dollars in debt but taking an 85 percent stake in the company, leaving founder Russ Solomon and his family with 15 percent.

Solomon founded Tower in Sacramento, Calif., in 1960, starting by selling records out of his father's drug store and eventually opening the company's landmark store on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard in 1969. As part of the bankruptcy auction, the Sunset property will be sold for $12 million.

Michael Bloom, an attorney representing Tower's secured trade creditors, urged Shannon to consider the closeness of the bids and the effect that liquidation would have before deciding whether to approve the sale.

"We can save this company or we can liquidate it," Bloom argued. "... Sometimes, the highest bid is not the best bid. In this case, your honor, we believe the best bid is the Trans World bid."

Trans World, which has about 1,100 mostly mall-based stores nationwide, has recently acquired other music retailers such as Sam Goody and Wherehouse Music, consolidating most of its acquisitions under the FYE name, which stands for For Your Entertainment.

Tim Pohl, an attorney representing Trans World, asked the judge whether $500,000 was "a material enough difference" to liquidate a company, as opposed to keeping thousands of people employed.

But Jay Indyke, an attorney for Great American, said Trans World and its bidding partners had discussed liquidating inventory and closing about two dozen Tower stores, and that they would not say how many stores they would continue to operate.