ILNews

Right to use HHGregg’s name and other intellectual property fetches just $400,000

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Failed retailer HHGregg Inc., which racked up more than $2 billion in annual revenue prior to landing in bankruptcy this March, has sold its name and other intellectual property rights for a mere $400,000.

Court records show that at an auction late last month, an entity called Valor LLC scooped up the rights to the Indianapolis-based company’s trademarks, domain names, customer files and other data.

Buyers of a defunct retailers' intellectual property sometimes do so with the intention of resurrecting the brand, either as an online-only business or with brick-and-mortar locations. It's not clear what Valor's intentions are. Company principal Michael Eisner did not respond to phone calls or an email.

HHGregg’s intellectual property became available after the electronics and appliance retailer failed to find a buyer and closed all 220 its stores this spring.

In buying HHGregg’s intellectual property, Valor outbid Sears Holdings Corp., the suburban-Chicago based owner of national retailers Sears and Kmart, which offered $350,000. A court filing doesn't indicate whether there were additional bidders.

Valor appears to be based in Brooklyn, New York, though details about the company are scarce. Eisner is linked to another company called Circuit Street LLC in Brooklyn, which offers “the latest technology in drones and digital cameras,” according to the business’ voicemail recording.

An online business description characterizes Circuit Street as a company with seven employees and annual revenue of $380,000.

Richard Feinberg, a professor of consumer science and retailing at Purdue University, said a company’s intellectual property can be quite valuable.

Customer lists, for instance, are impossible to duplicate and could be sold to other companies for a tidy profit. Or the brand name itself could give the buyer instant name recognition, which it could use to relaunch the chain on a smaller scale.

“They don’t have to open 100 stores but could open 10 of the best locations, which are probably still empty and would do very well,” he said.

HHGregg hired Boston-based Hilco Streambank to market the intellectual property and assist in its sale.

According to testimony from David Peress, a Hilco executive vice president, interest in buying HHGregg's intellectual property appeared to be limited.

“There is no evidence to suggest that further marketing of the intellectual property would generate additional value for the debtors’ estates in excess of the winning bid, and further delay in the sale of the intellectual property could lead to further diminution in its value,” Judge Robyn L. Moberly wrote in an order approving the sale..

Hilco’s fee structure suggests the consultancy thought the HHGregg name would fetch more money.

The agreement said Hilco Streambank’s fee would be 5 percent if the purchase price was less than $5 million, 7.5 percent if it was $5 million to $10 million, and 10 percent if it was more than $10 million.

If the winning bid were from an affiliate of the Throgmartin family, which launched the company in 1955, the fee would be cut in half. The lower fee perhaps stemmed from the fact the family was in the loop without the benefit of Hilco Streambank’s marketing efforts.

That language had fueled speculation that the Throgmartin family would bid and attempt to revive HHGregg.

Sources told IBJ this spring that before the chain folded, Gregg Throgmartin, who was an HHGregg executive vice president before leaving the company in 2014, had discussed buying a swath of stores in the chain's strongest markets. Throgmartin, now an executive with TechStyle Fashion Group in Los Angeles, has not returned repeated calls from IBJ.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Or does the study merely wish they fade away? “It just hasn’t risen substantially in decades,” Joan Williams, director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law told Law360. “What we should be looking for is progress, and that’s not what we’re seeing.” PROGRESS = less white males in leadership. Thus the heading and honest questions here ....

  2. One need not wonder why we are importing sex slaves into North America. Perhaps these hapless victims of human trafficking were being imported for a book of play with the Royal Order of Jesters? https://medium.com/@HeapingHelping/who-are-the-royal-order-of-jesters-55ffe6f6acea Indianapolis hosts these major pervs in a big way .... https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Royal-Order-of-Jesters-National-Office/163360597025389 I wonder what affect they exert on Hoosier politics? And its judiciary? A very interesting program on their history and preferences here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtgBdUtw26c

  3. Joseph Buser, Montgomery County Chief Prosecutor, has been involved in both representing the State of Indiana as Prosecutor while filing as Representing Attorney on behalf of himself and the State of Indiana in Civil Proceedings for seized cash and merchandise using a Verified Complaint For Forfeiture of Motor Vehicle, Us Currency And Reimbursement Of Costs, as is evident in Montgomery County Circuit Court Case Number 54C01-1401-MI-000018, CCS below, seen before Judge Harry Siamas, and filed on 01/13/2014. Sheriff Mark Castille is also named. All three defendants named by summons have prior convictions under Mr. Buser, which as the Indiana Supreme Court, in the opinion of The Matter of Mark R. McKinney, No. 18S00-0905-DI-220, stated that McKinney created a conflict of interest by simultaneously prosecuting drug offender cases while pocketing assets seized from defendants in those cases. All moneys that come from forfeitures MUST go to the COMMON SCHOOL FUND.

  4. I was incarcerated at that time for driving while suspended I have no felonies...i was placed on P block I remember several girls and myself asking about voting that day..and wasn't given a answer or means of voting..we were told after the election who won that was it.

  5. The number one way to reduce suffering would be to ban the breeding of fighting dogs. Fighting dogs maim and kill victim dogs Fighting dogs are the most essential piece of dog fighting Dog fighting will continue as long as fighting dogs are struggling to reach each other and maul another fih.longaphernalia

ADVERTISEMENT