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Photo by Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic via Getty Images.

PetSmart reportedly has hired restructuring advisors to help slash its $8 billion-plus debt pile, almost all of which is attributable to the retailer's 2015 buyout by BC Partners.

Bottom line: It's not an emergency — most of the PetSmart notes don't come due for several more years, and restructuring now could take advantage of price discounts that BC hopes are fleeting — but it's the sort of thing that drives private equity critics crazy. And with good reason.

  • BC Partners did an $800 million dividend recap just one year after the acquisition, rather than paying off debt, reinvesting in the business or saving for a rainy day.
  • Now that the rainy (or at least drizzly) day has arrived, in the form of decreased profits and increased competition, it's PetSmart itself that pays for the restructuring advisors — not the private equity owners who are being paid a management fee to prevent the need for debt restructuring.
  • BC Partners bought PetSmart in early 2015, when it was obvious to absolutely everyone that specialty retail isn't immune to the move from physical to digital (i.e., this isn't like buying Toys "R" Us in 2005). Buying a popular e-commerce biz (Chewy) and having in-house vet clinics doesn't necessarily offset the rest of that brick-and-mortar expense, which becomes exacerbated by big debt.
  • A spokeswoman for BC Partners did not return request for comment.

Go deeper

Former Sen. David Perdue to launch bid for Georgia governor

Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Former Senator David Perdue (R) plans to announce a campaign against Georgia's incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp Monday, according to a source familiar with Perdue's thinking.

Why it matters: Perdue's challenge to his former ally Kemp sets up an unprecedented "scorched earth" battle between Georgia Republicans fueled by former President Donald Trump, in the battleground state. The news was first reported by Politico.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program where he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.

Former Sen. Bob Dole dies

Former Sen. Bob Dole in 2019. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole passed away Sunday morning at the age of 98, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced in a statement.

Driving the news: Dole, a revered figure in U.S. politics and the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, served in the Senate for 27 years, including 11 years as GOP leader. Earlier this year he revealed he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.