Judge Reopens Polaroid Bankruptcy Auction

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal bankruptcy judge ordered the auction for the assets of instant camera maker Polaroid Corp reopened, giving the two leading bidders until Tuesday to resubmit bids, a lawyer for Polaroid confirmed Monday.

A joint venture between liquidators Hilco Consumer Capital and Gordon Brothers Group LLC, and New York private equity firm Patriarch Partners, will each submit one final bid, the lawyer, George Singer, told Reuters.

Polaroid, which filed for bankruptcy in December 2008, will have to announce a winner no later than Wednesday, before an approval hearing set for the following day in U.S. bankruptcy court in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“The process has been robust,” said Singer, of the Minneapolis law firm Lindquist & Vennum.

Last week, Patriarch won the auction with an $59.1 million bid over Hilco-Gordon Brothers’ $61.5 million bid, which included less cash but a larger stake in the company that would be created from the Polaroid assets being bought.

Patriarch, whose portfolio includes Arizona brand iced tea and mapmaker Rand McNally, also beat out rivals Ritchie Capital Management and Luxembourg-based Genii Capital, which had placed the starting bid of $42 million.

But a committee of Polaroid’s creditors objected to the results and asked the court to reopen bidding. The creditors said in a court filing last week that more bidding would help “arrive at the truly highest and best offer.”

Ritchie Capital also filed an objection Thursday, contesting the auction process.

Singer said he hoped the auction’s extension would resolve those objections.

Hilco’s portfolio includes electronics retailer The Sharper Image, and the Linen ‘N Things brand name.

Spokespersons from Patriarch and Hilco did not return calls for comment.

The case is In re Polaroid Corp et al., U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota No 08-46617. (Reporting by Phil Wahba, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)