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Bed Bath & Beyond bankruptcy: These companies could benefit from the retailer's demise

By James Rogers

'In terms of acquisitions, opportunistic portfolio-builders and private-equity companies should already be circling'

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.'s bankruptcy marks the end of the line for the troubled home-goods retailer and sometime meme-stock darling.

But a number of companies could benefit from Bed Bath & Beyond's (BBBY)demise.

On the retail side, the obvious beneficiaries are companies that have robust home businesses, such as Target Corp. (TGT), Walmart Inc. (WMT) and (TJX)'s HomeGoods, Carol Spieckerman, president of the retail advisory firm Spieckerman Retail, told MarketWatch.

"Home is a high-margin, evergreen category that has emerged as an enticing expansion play for dollar stores, hard discounters, and even grocers such as H-E-B and Kroger (KR)," she added.

"We expect other durable goods retailers, like Walmart (WMT), Target (TGT), and TJX's Home Goods to absorb BBBY's market share," wrote D.A. Davidson analyst Linda Bolton Weiser, in a note released Tuesday.

Retailers across multiple tiers stand to benefit from the Bed Bath & Beyond bankruptcy, according to Spieckerman. "In terms of acquisitions, opportunistic portfolio-builders and private-equity companies should already be circling," she said.

Related:Bed Bath & Beyond bankruptcy fuels near-record short selling: Stocktwits

Set against this backdrop, brand-management firm WHP Global would seem to be a top-tier acquirer and Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us would be a "synergistic pairing" with Bed Bath & Beyond's Buybuy Baby subsidiary, Spieckerman said.

WHP Global already owns the Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us brands. "WHP would also offer a compelling opportunity to gobble up Bed Bath & Beyond whole rather than it being sold off for parts," she added. "Bed Bath & Beyond would present a nice category-expansion play that would diversify WHP's holdings and give it a foothold in the home category."

The brand-management giant recently received a $375 million equity investment from the private-equity group of Ares Management Corporation (ARES). The transaction, which values WHP Global at $1.6 billion, provides capital for future brand acquisitions.

Also read: Bed Bath & Beyond: from home-goods behemoth to bankruptcy

In a statement released Sunday, Bed Bath & Beyond said it intends to use the Chapter 11 proceedings "to conduct a limited sale and marketing process for some or all of its assets."

Online home-furnishing stores Wayfair Inc. (W) and Inc. (OSTK) could also be potential beneficiaries of Bed Bath & Beyond's bankruptcy, according to BofA Securities research analyst Curtis Nagle.

"In the event of a full liquidity or closure of the majority of Bed Bath's stores, we believe that Wayfair and Overstock could see modest revenue upside," Nagle wrote in a note released Monday, adding that both companies have seen recent pickup in web traffic. However, inventory liquidations could be a near-term headwind, the analyst added.

D.A. Davidson's Bolton Weiser notes that 1-800 Inc. (FLWS) and Lifetime Brands Inc. (LCUT) are among Bed Bath & Beyond's top 30 creditors. Mattel Inc. (MAT) and Helen of Troy Ltd. (HELE) are also companies that would have shipped to Bed Bath & Beyond in the past, according to D.A. Davidson. "All these companies significantly pared back shipments in the last year, and sales exposure is immaterial," Bolton Weiser wrote, in a note released Monday.

-James Rogers

This content was created by MarketWatch, which is operated by Dow Jones & Co. MarketWatch is published independently from Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal.


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04-25-23 0843ET

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