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Sharper Image Officially On The Block

4/24/2008 02:02:00 PM Eastern

San Francisco — Sharper Image has formally put out the for-sale sign.

The bankrupt retailer of proprietary CE and executive gifts announced that it has elected to “pursue a sale of its business and assets” under the provisions of Chapter 11 and hopes to close a deal by the end of May.

“Given the present retail climate and specialty nature of the company, as well as the limited financing available to the company, a sale of its business and assets at this time will preserve values and yield the best recovery to the company,” said CEO Robert Conway.

The chain said it will solicit “indications of interest from potential acquirers” of all or part of the business or assets, and is directing inquiries to Robert Del Genio at (212) 813-1300.

Del Genio and Conway are principals of Conway, Del Genio, Gries & Co., a 10-year-old consultancy that provides specialized corporate finance advisory services focusing on restructurings, mergers and acquisitions.

Conway retained his firm after he was named CEO in February.

The announcement follows the resignation earlier this month of Sharper Image chairman Jerry Levin, who indicated that he may join the bidding. At the time, Conway said the company would “give full consideration to any proposal” to acquire the business.

Sharper Image said it will “pursue establishment of bid procedures and the conduct of an auction as soon as reasonably practicable,” and noted that any sale will be subject to approval of the bankruptcy court having jurisdiction of the chain’s Chapter 11 case.

The once high-riding chain fell on hard times after its best-selling product, the Ionic Breeze air purifier, was deemed harmful by Consumer Reports. The company’s problems were compounded by its mostly mall-based real estate, which suffered declines in traffic.

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