Cash-strapped US supermarket chain Grand Union is treating a $300m offer for most of its stores from supplier C&S Wholesalers as a "floor bid" after receiving a series of rival offers for its assets this week. The winning bid will be determined on November 16 at a bankruptcy court auction. Grand Union, which operates 197 stores in Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York and Vermont, put itself up for sale after a series of restructuring plans failed to stem spiralling debts. Investors were told in the summer that bankers would have pushed for an immediate liquidation if they felt Grand Union didn't have a future. But heavy staff cuts at the company's offices in New Jersey and New York only delayed the inevitable. In August chief financial officer Jeffrey Freimark said the sale of the entire company was being explored as a strategic option by the investment banker Merrill Lynch if the firm's fortunes didn't improve. By September, chief executive Gary Philbin said he had no alternative but to sell up­"a difficult but unavoidable decision in view of our recent financial performance". On October 3, the company filed for bankruptcy protection for the third time in five years, explaining it was now looking for a buyer rather than simply restructuring its credit agreements again. Filing for Chapter 11 protection against bankruptcy would provide it with some breathing space from creditors and allow it to continue to operate while seeking a suitable buyer. Grand Union had expected an agreement with C&S before the auction, but the purchase price rocketed when a number of companies expressed interest in the troubled chain. However, Grand Union attorney Adam Rogoff said the court and company will be looking at "more than just the purchase price". {{NEWS }}