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Bed Bath & Beyond having difficulty finding buyer

A Bed Bath & Beyond storefront with a store closing sign hanging above the entrance.

Photo: Johnny Milano/Bloomberg via Getty Images

We may now know why Bed Bath & Beyond hasn't yet filed for bankruptcy following its debt default: It can't find a buyer, Bloomberg reports, citing sources.

Why it matters: Without a buyer, or more accurately, a stalking horse bidder in place, Bed Bath & Beyond is more likely to end in liquidation.

Yes, but: The sources in the article caution that a bidder could still emerge.

  • A stalking horse need not be willing to buy the operations, but simply set a floor on what the assets are worth in liquidation.
  • That includes everything from long-term leases to inventory — but also, importantly, intellectual property such as the Bed Bath & Beyond and Buybuy Baby names.
  • The retailer also controls private label brands such as Wamsutta, a name more than a century old and known for its well-reviewed bedding products.

State of play; The top retail liquidation firms include Gordon Brothers Group, Hilco Merchant Resources and Tiger Capital Group.

What's next: Bed Bath & Beyond should be able to secure at least a liquidation offer.

  • Even if the retailer is likely to end up in liquidation, it would likely still file for Chapter 11 initially with the hope that another buyer could emerge.
  • If a buyer still did not emerge, then the Chapter 11 reorganization would convert to a Chapter 7 liquidation.
  • In fact, Bed Bath & Beyond's filing, if it comes to that, may look a lot like Stage Stores' Chapter 11, when it could not find a buyer.

What we're watching: Potential buyers include Retail Ecommerce Ventures, which operates a number of banners including Pier 1 Imports, Linens 'n Things and Radioshack. Other logical suitors include...

  • WHP Global, the parent of retail brands such as Toys R Us and Babies R Us.
  • Marquee Brands, the parent of Destination Maternity.
  • Authentic Brands Group, the parent of Forever 21 and Brooks Brothers.
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