A newly released Securities and Exchange Commission filing shows that BlackRock, the world’s largest institutional asset manager, now holds a 14% stake in Bed Bath & Beyond.
It’s unclear if the massive investment company had held shares in BBB previously or exactly when it made these most recent stock buys or at what price. In its 2022 annual report BBB had listed its five largest shareholders and BlackRock was not included in that list, which reflected firms holding 7% or more of its stock.
The SEC filing, which Bed Bath released as was required, this morning, shows BlackRock now holds about 12.3 million shares of BBBY stock. It appears the holding is through a BlackRock subsidiary, iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF.
A BlackRock spokesperson, responding to an inquiry for comment, said, “As a matter of policy, we are unable to discuss individual companies/stocks. The vast majority of our public equity holdings on behalf of clients are through index strategies such as ETFs. These strategies track third-party indices, whose components are determined by the rules set by the index provider. BlackRock does not have discretion to remove specific holdings. Our investments in companies held through index strategies does not represent a particular investment view regarding the companies.” Blackrock is a huge investor in many companies and says it had $10 trillion in assets under management as of January 2022.
Bed Bath has been in serious turmoil following declining sales, management upheaval and a massive squeeze of its balance sheet that has reduced its working capital and access to credit. Speculation has been mounting that it will be forced to file for bankruptcy or sell itself or parts of the company to a third party. BBB will only say it is looking into a number of options for its financial future.
According to its most recent annual report, the five largest shareholders in Bed Bath are: Davis Selected Advisors, 18.4%; Capital Research & Management, 13.7%; Vanguard Group, 10%; Sands Capital Management, 7.3%; and Legion Partners Asset Management, 7.1%. All are asset management firms and it’s unclear if any have sold or bought shares or otherwise changed their positions in BBB since that filing in 2022. The retailer has always attracted large institutional holders since going public in 1992.
Bed Bath stock was trading at about $3.38 a share Thursday morning, making BlackRock’s holdings worth about $42 million.
Note: This story was updated at 11:20am on Jan. 26 to reflect BlackRock’s response for comment.