Sports Authority Closing All Stores

Retail Recreation Giant Falls Prey to Debt Overload

Following a widely reported Chapter 11 announcement in March, and subsequent talk about finding a buyer and refinancing debt from a leveraged buyout a decade before, Sports Authority’s owners threw in the towel on Wednesday and told the bankruptcy court in Delaware that all 450 stores were closing — including the one in Goleta’s Camino Real Marketplace — and its merchandise going to liquidators.

Once a publicly traded company, the sporting goods company was taken private when it was bought for $1.4 billion in 2006 by Leonard Green & Partners, a West Los Angeles private equity firm run by partners who cut their teeth with Michael Milkin’s Drexel Burnham Lambert, according to the Los Angeles Times. Sports Authority, headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, had hoped for $595 million debtor-in-possession financing during its bankruptcy, wrote CNN Money, but could not satisfy lenders or creditors.

The stores remain open — and its 14,500 employees employed — for now, but going-out-of-business sales are expected to start in coming weeks.

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