Trans World considered favorite.

Radius Equity—considered the "white knight" in the bidding for Tower Records—failed to put together financing in time for the Chapter 11 auction of the troubled chain. The auction began today in the offices of a Wilmington, Del. law firm.

Radius Equity managing director Stuart Jamieson confirms that the company came up short at the 11th hour. “We ran out of time in trying to put together our financing,” he reports. “On Tuesday, all of our lenders told us they would need another three or four more days” to get together their commitments, he says. “So we tried to put in place bridge financing, and we were working on it until 11 o’clock last night, when we realized we couldn’t get it done.”

The bidding began this morning with the chain’s assets seperately and simultaneously being auctioned off. If no other private equity firm came forward, Trans World Entertainment would be the sole bidder looking to buy most or all of Tower’s assets.

As of earlier this week, it was unclear if another private equity firm had qualified, despite a Sacremental Bee report that Orchard Capital planned to bid and wanted to keep the chain operational. That firm has not returned repeated phone calls and label executives say they haven’t been contacted by Orchard or any other private equity firm in an attempt to line-up credit support going forward.

If Trans World is the sole bidder for all of the chain’s assets, the auction is proceeding piecemeal and then the Albany, N.Y.-based chain would likely be given a shot to top the collective bids at the end of the day.