Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Never mind - just liquidate

Are changes in the bankruptcy laws causing this? Instead of reorganizing, companies these days are just liquidating. Let's see...Linens and Things, Value City, Bennigan's...now apparently Steve & Barry's (H/T Traffic Court) only three months after a private equity rescue, and some think Circuit City's conversion to a Chapter 7 is only a matter of time. Or is it that PE players are just scared of the economy right now and figure they better cut their losses? Maybe not here, since the hedge fund that bought the company is going to lose its investment.

So, the best answer may be lenders. In the case of Steve & Barry's, "Cerberus Capital Management LP, whose Ableco lending unit provided a loan to finance the deal, expects to be paid back in full, according to people familiar with the deal." Want to bet a nickel the lender said, no more money -- we want ours and unless you PE guys put more skin in the game, close this puppy down.

Now the question is whether we all have the intestinal fortitude to see this happen in Detroit, or whether we will hold on to what many consider to be a broken business model.