The silence is deafening.
Four weeks after filing chapter 11 bankruptcy and just days before a scheduled court hearing when bids are due for what remains of its assets, Bed Bath & Beyond is apparently not in any discussions with potential white knights…much less saviors.
Of course, it’s certainly possible that there are behind-the-scenes conversations to acquire the entire business, either the Bed Bath or BuyBuyBaby units or perhaps just assorted intellectual properties and bits and pieces. But the rumor mill – which usually is active in situations like this – has been eerily quiet over the past few weeks.
In the meantime the company continues to liquidate what’s left of its stores, with Hilco as the going-out-of-business operator for both brands. It continues to ship new merchandise into those remaining 500 or so stores still open under the two nameplates. Some vendors report they are shipping new goods to Hilco to put into those stores and while it’s generally believed the stores will remain open through the end of June, a store employee at a New York City BuyBuy Baby said she had been told her location at least would stay open through July.
Bed Bath management itself has been silent on what’s up and in inquiries from assorted members of the business press has said it continues to seek deals for its remaining assets…without getting any more specific.
A New Jersey bankruptcy court has published a June 3 deadline for interested parties to submit bids for those assets with decisions due the week after. Of course, these things are often stretched out and it’s certainly conceivable something could break as those deadlines approach, much like last-minute eBay “sniper” bidders surface to swoop in and make a deal.
While it’s almost certain that someone will buy the intellectual properties, especially the store brand names and URL addresses, it’s becoming increasingly unlikely that anyone will buy the ongoing businesses themselves. This is especially mysterious given the perceived value of the Baby division which was believed to be a better performer than the overall company and one with fewer natural competitors.
We’ll know who’s who and what’s what the first week of June…if not before should the rumors rise to the surface. In the meantime, any potential predators remain just below that surface.