Private equity-backed BTWW files for bankruptcy

The Texas-based western-style clothing retailer, backed by Sage Capital and Luther King Capital, has sold 22 stores to Marwit Capital on its way to total liquidation. BTWW is one of 35 private-equity backed companies that have crashed into bankruptcy in 2008.

BTWW Retail, a western and workwear retailer backed by Sage Capital and Luther King Capital, has filed for bankruptcy and is working to sell all its assets in an effort to wind down the business.

The Dallas, Texas-based company, which has 124 outlets in 19 states, has sold 22 stores to Marwit Capital portfolio company Boot Barn Holding. This is BTWW’s second trip into bankruptcy, having filed Chapter 11 once before in 2003.

The company operates under five brand names: Corral West Ranchwear; Cooper’s Western Warehouse; Boot Town; Western Warehouse and Job Site.

BTWW will take bids from potential buyers for all assets by Nov. 21, and has proposed an auction for just before the 27 November Thanksgiving holiday.

“We anticipate that this will be a very quick sale process, and we hope to have a buyer or buyers approved by

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the bankruptcy court by the end of this month,” Adam Cook, an advisor with Clear Thinking Group, which is advising BTWW through the bankruptcy process, said in a statement.

Retailers have been particularly hard hit by turmoil in global financial markets as consumers dial back their spending amid frozen credit markets and plummeting housing values.

Sun Capital-backed Mervyns spiraled into bankruptcy earlier this year and is liquidating, and Linens ‘n Things, backed by Apollo Global Management, also is liquidating after filing for Chapter 11.

In fact, at least 35 private equity backed companies have filed for bankruptcy protection this year, a number that Standard & Poor’s expects to increase in 2009.