ResearchThree Things (4/24)

Three Things (4/24)

Apr 24, 2023

The common question that gets asked in business is, ‘why?’ That’s a good question, but an equally valid question is, ‘why not?’ – Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

Bed Bath & Beyond files for bankruptcy 

The once-powerful home-good retailer has filed for bankruptcy and will begin closing sales on Wednesday. Despite various financing deals and efforts to stem losses by closing hundreds of stores, none were enough to save the company. 

Bed Bath & Beyond, which once operated as many as 1,500 locations, didn’t have an unprofitable year as a public company until 2019 and even came out of the 2008 downturn a winner. However, the fast rise of Amazon and other online retailers left many specialty stores like Bed Bath obsolete. “We missed the boat on the internet,” co-founder Warren Eisenberg said. And for better or for worse, in 2023, that can make all the difference. (WSJ)

Celsius auction set for Tuesday

The latest development in the saga of the bankrupt cryptocurrency lender Celsius came this weekend as a bankruptcy filing revealed that two new consortiums will take part in a three-way auction for the company. According to the filing, joining an earlier bid by NovaWulf Digital Management to manage a restructured version of the company is Fahrenheit and a company called Blockchain Recovery Investment Committee, backed by the likes of Gemini Trust (the Winklevoss twins’ company). 

For the 600,000 Celsius debtors, the stakes are high—the outcome of the auction will determine how and when they are paid back. As a reminder, Celsius owed customers an estimated $4.7 billion when it went under last June. For those customers, we can bet it’s not who wins the bid but rather how quickly they get their money back that’s top of mind. (Fortune)

First Republic Bank earnings

Regional lender First Republic Bank is set to report first-quarter earnings today and shed light on the extent of the damage caused by billions in deposit outflows. Following the collapse of SVB and Signature Bank, First Republic Bank has been at the center of concerns about smaller banks facing the same kind of liquidity crunch. With mounting recession fears and high stress in the banking sector, eyes will be very focused on reports like this one as an indicator of where the economy is headed. 

“The wild card that none of us really know for certain is, did what happened in March pull forward repricing activity that otherwise would have happened?” Tim Spence, chief executive at Fifth Third Bancorp, said. “Or did it wake up money and/or change customers’ risk assessment of their banks?”

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