Toys “R” Us Enters Death Spiral: Facing Imminent Bankruptcy, Suppliers Halts Shipments

Saturday, September 16, 2017
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
ZeroHedge.com
Sep 16, 2017

Last week’s news that Toys “R” Us has hired bankruptcy lawyers Kirkland & Ellis to help restructure its heavy debt load, came as a shock to the company’s creditors, who promptly sent its bond crashing from nearly par at the start of the month to 43 cents on the dollar as of Friday.

As Bloomberg first reported, K&E is focused on the $400MM in bond due 2081, while Toys “R” Us has also retained Lazard to help with debt refinancing. They will have their hands full: in addition to shrinking sales and heightened competition, Toys ‘R’ Us has been burdened with debt from an LBO12 years ago as a result of which Toys “R” Us’s private equity owners, Bain Capital, KKR and Vornado Realty Trust, loaded up the company with $7.5 billion in debt.

Last year, the retailer extended maturities on some of borrowings, giving it more time to execute a turnaround plan by Chief Executive Officer Dave Brandon. As part of his comeback bid, he was looking to spruce up stores with more toy demonstrations and other experiences – seeking an edge on online sites such as Amazon. However, last week’s realization that the company is considering a debt-for-equity exchange, confirmed many worst fears that not only was the turnaround faltering but that underlying business was far weaker than expected.

The imminent restructuring, which judging by the shocking bond crash was completely unexpected, would help Toys “R” Us get its house in order ahead of the all-important holiday season, when the company has its biggest sales surge. Alas, now that the iconic toy retailer appears likely to cramdown at least one if not more creditor classes in some form of pre-pack Chapter 11, said sales surge may not happen at all if the company’s suppliers suddenly get cold feet and refuse to stock up the company with much needed inventory.

The Rest…HERE

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