Wilmington, Del. — Yogi Berra could have been referring to RadioShack when he famously observed, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
Today federal bankruptcy court Judge Brendan Shannon is scheduled to hold a hearing on last week’s $26.2 million sale of RadioShack’s intellectual property, including trademarks and customer data, to new chain-owner Standard General.
The hedge fund will be seeking Shannon's approval of the sale, while the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is looking to ensure that the personal information that RadioShack collected on 117 million customers — and promised not to sell — is protected.
In a letter to a court-appointed consumer ombudsman, FTC consumer protection director Jessica Rich urged that RadioShack first obtain the consent of its customers before the data is handed over to Standard General, and reminded all of the retailer’s past public pledges:
* “We will not sell or rent your personally identifiable information to anyone at any time.”
* “We respect your privacy.”
* “We pride ourselves on not selling our private mailing list.”
Also opposed to the transfer are AT&T and Apple, which are loathe to the disclosure of their customer base and any proprietary information, and filed a motion to that effect earlier this month with the court.
For its part, Standard General said it has been working with multiple state attorneys general, who had also objected to the sale, to ensure that privacy concerns are addressed, while the ombudsman, New York attorney Elise Frejka, described the data as available from public sources and “not of a sensitive nature,” the L.A. Times reported.
And in yet another wrinkle, former RadioShack term lender Salus Capital Partners — the investor that blocked RadioShack’s prior attempts to downsize — asked in a filing that the auction be reopened, as a new bidder, Wonderland Investment Group, could top Standard General’s offer by about $4 million.
Stay tuned …