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Gottschalks may get multiple bids for its stores

FRESNO - The attorney representing Gottschalks' creditors said this afternoon that he expects at least two bidders to challenge a liquidator for the assets of the bankrupt department store chain.

The potential bidders are another liquidator, Gordon Brothers, and a group from China, said Larry Gottlieb, a partner and chair of the bankruptcy and restructuring practice at the New York law firm Cooley Godward Kronish.

Gottlieb said he didn't have any other details to share, including how much the groups may offer for Gottschalks' assets.

He said no bids had been received yet. Court documents said bids were due by 2 p.m. PDT today, but Gottlieb said, "We need to have some flexibility on that." He didn't elaborate.

Gottlieb said he wasn't familiar with the previously reported interest by Golden Gate Capital Corp. of San Francisco, Illinois-based GK Development Inc., and El Corte Inglés, a Spanish retail conglomerate that already owns about 16% of Gottschalks' stock.

But Gottlieb said he wouldn't count on bids from any of those firms.

Late last year, a Chinese company, Everbright Development Overseas Ltd. was negotiating with Gottschalks on a possible partnership but withdrew from the deal in December.

Gottlieb said he didn't think that Everbright is the Chinese group that he expects to bid this week.

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