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Jul 21, 2011 3:45 PM by Matt Stafford

Borders asks permission to sell stores to rival

Borders Group Inc. is seeking permission to sell 30 to 35 of its bookstores to the chain Books-a-Million Inc.

Borders already said that someone wanted to buy the leases and assets and named Books-a Million as the bidder in court Thursday. Borders is seeking to liquidate the rest of its 399 stores.

Books-A-Million, based in Birmingham, Ala., will become the second largest U.S. bookseller after Borders liquidates. It operates more than 200 stores in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

A judge is expected to rule on the matter, as well as Borders' liquidation, later Thursday.

Borders, of Ann Arbor, Mich., filed for bankruptcy protection in February. It said earlier this week it planned to liquidate after a potential private-equity bid fell through.

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