Bankrupt electronics retailer RadioShack Corp received court approval on Friday for its plan to try to sell the leases to more than 1,100 stores that it will close by the end of February.
RadioShack first proposed closing many of the locations early last year as it struggled to turn around its money-losing operations, but lenders demanded the stores remain open.
After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month, RadioShack moved quickly to abandon the stores to avoid paying March rent.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brendan Shannon in Wilmington, Delaware gave his approval to the bidding and auction process for the leases, which has been under way for weeks.
"I don't think I've ever signed an order with bids due in two hours," Shannon said, referring to the noon deadline for bids. An auction will be held next week for leases that draw multiple bids.
RadioShack said it will disclose in a court filing on Saturday which leases drew bids.
Once the go-to destination for gadget enthusiasts, RadioShack plans to close nearly half of its 4,000 locations.
The company will seek court approval on Monday for the auction process for up to 2,400 stores. An affiliate of the hedge fund Standard General has agreed to act as an initial bidder, known as a stalking horse, for those locations, which will remain open.
The hedge fund plans to bring in Sprint Corp as a partner to operate in those stores.
RadioShack plans to abandon more stores in March and will put those leases up for sale next month.
The case is In re RadioShack Corp, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 15-10197
(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Andrea Ricci)