Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

We now have even more reason to blame senior secured lenders to Toys "R" Us for the retailer's epic shutdown, with Bloomberg reporting that buyout firm Sycamore Partners held advanced talks to buy the company and keep half of its U.S. stores in business:

"The retailer’s senior creditors calculated they would see a better return if the company were liquidated and its assets sold off."

Bottom line: This still doesn't excuse the many mistakes made by private equity firms Bain Capital and KKR . But thousands of jobs could have been saved if not for "B4 lender" intransigence.

It's something we've discussed before, and it's only reinforced by the Sycamore revelation.

  • Final inventory, per Bloomberg: "Almost every company asset—cash flows, property, inventory, equity in the international operations—was pledged to a lender, sometimes twice. Toys "R” Us had nothing left to promise."

Flashbacks: The Toys "R" Us blame game, and why it wasn't a total loss for Bain and KKR.

Go deeper

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Trump whisked out of press briefing after shooting outside White House

President Trump was escorted out of a coronavirus press briefing by a Secret Service agent on Monday evening after law enforcement reportedly shot an armed suspect outside of the White House.

What's new: The 51-year-old suspect approached a uniformed Secret Service officer on the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, near the White House, and said he had a weapon, the agency alleged in a statement late Monday. He "ran aggressively towards the officer, and in a drawing motion, withdrew the object from his clothing."

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Protests in Belarus turn deadly following sham election

Belarus law enforcement officers guard a street during a protest on Monday night. Police in Minsk have fired rubber bullets for a second night against protesters. Photo: Natalia Fedosenko/TASS via Getty Image

Protesters and security forces have been clashing across Belarus overnight in a second night of protests that has left at least one person dead, hundreds injured and thousands arrested.

Why it matters: Sunday’s rigged presidential elections have yielded political uncertainty unlike any seen in Aleksander Lukashenko’s 26-year tenure. After claiming an implausible 80% of the vote, Lukashenko is using every tool in the authoritarian arsenal to maintain his grip on power.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 20,014,574 — Total deaths: 734,755 — Total recoveries — 12,222,744Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 5,089,416 — Total deaths: 163,425 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. Politics: Trump claims he would have not called for Obama to resign over 160,000 virus deathsHouse will not hold votes until Sept. 14 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. Business: Richer Americans are more comfortable eating out.
  5. Public health: 5 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — A dual coronavirus and flu threat is set to deliver a winter from hell.
  6. Sports: The cost of kids losing gym class — College football is on the brink.
  7. World: Europe's CDC recommends new restrictions amid "true resurgence in cases."