Golden Gate Eyes Circuit City

(Reuters) – Private-equity firm Golden Gate Capital has emerged as one of three bidders in the auction for retailer Circuit City Stores Inc, which filed for bankruptcy protection in November, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The San Francisco-based firm has made a bid for the entire company but has requested 30 days to analyze the business, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the situation.

Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas Pliego, who acquired 28.5 percent of Circuit City’s stock after it filed for Chapter 11, also is exploring a purchase, the paper said.

The third bidder is a combination of liquidation firms Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Retail Partners, which want to buy the chain’s inventory and sell it in a going-out-of-business sale, according to the paper.

The first day of an auction for Circuit City’s assets concluded yesterday.

The bankruptcy court has set a Friday deadline for Circuit City to reach a deal with a buyer, though an extension is possible, according to the paper.

Circuit City has already liquidated and closed 155 stores, about one-fifth of its U.S. store base.

Golden Gate Capital, Pliego and Hilco Merchant Resources could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters.

(Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore; editing by John Stonestreet)