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At least two of seven Toledo-area Blockbuster Inc. stores are slated to close as the national movie rental chain prepares to put itself up for sale.
Dallas-based Blockbuster, with 3,300 stores nationwide, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September. A spokesman for the company would not say on Monday which local stores are expected to shut.
Blockbuster stores at 1814 West Laskey Road in Toledo and 7635 West Sylvania Ave. in Sylvania Township are to close, one within a week, according to employees.
Stores expected to stay open include 3060 Navarre Road in Oregon, 4558 Monroe St. in Toledo, and 545 North Telegraph Road in Monroe. Employees declined to comment at the Blockbuster stores at 9830 Olde U.S. 20 in Rossford and 816 South Main St. in Bowling Green.
Meanwhile, bidders assembled yesterday for a bankruptcy auction of Blockbuster that will decide the company's next owner and the amount of money available to pay off claims.
Once the world's largest video chain, Blockbuster had a market capitalization of more than $5 billion at its peak in 2002 but came under pressure from mail-order and digital competitors such as Netflix Inc.
Blockbuster has not said how many bidders it attracted, but halls outside the auction room in Manhattan bankruptcy court were packed with attorneys and investment bankers refining their bids. Attorneys said there were multiple bidders but declined to name them because the proceedings are private.
The next owner could preserve the company as an ongoing business but also would have the option of liquidating it or closing it down. Proceeds of the sale will become part of the bankruptcy estate.
The company decided to put itself up for sale in February after a reorganization plan fell apart. The federal judge handling the bankruptcy is expected to approve a new owner Thursday.