Want to buy something at Bed Bath & Beyond?
No, we’re not talking about can openers and sheet sets. This is about buying the entire company…or at least parts of it.
If so, set your calendar reminder to 10am Eastern time on Friday June 2. That’s when the debtors – the people who are owed shopping carts full of money by the bankrupt retailer – have set the auction of the company’s assets in a virtual online process.
The following week, on June 7 at 11am, there will be an in-person hearing at the Newark, NJ bankruptcy court at which time those bids will be accepted. Of course, as with any legal matter, there are exceptions to complicate things and keep the attorneys busy: objections to the process can be filed by June 5 by any of the parties involved.
All of this – and so much more – was laid out in a public notice ad in Tuesday’s New York Times business section, printed in type so small one would need to buy a magnifying glass bought at Bed Bath to read it…though they are no longer available on the company’s website where it continues to run its going-out-of-business sale process. If you’ve got good eyes – and a strong stomach – you can access the ad online somewhere.
No doubt, bottom feeders will be looking for various store fixtures, inventory and assorted bits and pieces of real estate but of more value is the BuyBuyBaby division, which is believed to be the single most valuable asset the company still owns. There are also the intellectual properties, including the Bed Bath & Beyond name itself, but also Harmon Beauty, selected private label brands like Wamsutta and some assorted coffee machines and mini-fridges at corporate headquarters in Union, NJ.
But wait, there’s more: If you still want to buy shares of Bed Bath & Beyond, today is the last day to do so. Tomorrow, on May 3 is when the company has notified the NASDEQ exchange that it will be delisting good-old-BBBY, taking down its venerable stock listing that has been live for 41 years, having gone public in June of 1992.
Its opening price back then was $17 a share and it went as high as $77 in the fall of 2013. As of Tuesday mid-day, its last day as a public traded stock, it was selling at about 8 cents a share. And for some insane reason, more than 100 million shares – out of an estimated 400-million-plus shares in total – had traded by mid-day, proving that short sellers and Reddit speculators still are alive and well.
In the meantime, the liquidation of what’s left continues with plenty of reports of disappointed shoppers unable to use their lifetime collections of coupons any longer and shocked that the bargains are not all that great. Have any of these people been to going-out-of-business sales before? Don’t they know Hilco has this down to a science and knows to the minute when it has to start really cutting prices? Until then, it will milk every penny it can out of this sucker.
One more thing about the auction: no coupons allowed there either.