Use Your Gift Certificates: Linens 'N Things Expected To File Bankruptcy Tuesday

Home goods retailer Linens ‘N Things is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday. The company has hired “well-known restructuring firm” Conway Del Genio Gries & Company, and all signs point to dark days ahead, says the NYT:

If, as the market price implies, Linens ‘n Things noteholders expect to recover just one-third of face value on their debt, woe to the equity holders, Apollo Management, National Realty & Development Corporation and Silver Point Capital. Their stock is almost sure to be wiped out.

Under the terms of its senior notes, Linens ‘n Things continues to make regulatory filings like a public company. So we can see exactly how much is at stake: The buyout group supplied $648 million of their own equity — or, more precisely, their funds’ equity — to take Linens ‘n Things private two years sago. That is about half of the deal’s overall price of $1.3 billion.

And unless we are missing something, it appears that they haven’t yet recouped any of that cash in the form of a special distribution or dividend (a favorite trick in the buyout world).

Holding a gift certificate makes you an unsecured creditor in the eyes of a bankruptcy court, and as such you’re pretty low on the pecking order when it comes to divvying up the money. Today might be a good day to do some shopping.

Linens ‘n Things: Don’t Expect a Soft Landing [NYT]
(Photo:Maulleigh)

Comments

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  1. GC says:

    I hope that they emerge from bankruptcy as Sheets n Shit.

  2. courtarro says:

    @GC: I’d shop there.

  3. Who decides creditor gets paid first? Why are gift card holders rated last? Some people pay full face value when giving them as a gift

  4. Altdotweb says:

    Gift cards are considered as unsecured loans by the courts in a Bankruptcy proceeding.

    Secured creditors have first claim rights in the proceeding. By the time it gets to the unsecured claims, there is usually no money left.

  5. Islandkiwi says:

    We actually still had a 50 dollar gift card from our wedding a few years back, so the news was incentive enough to go use it. Say hello to our new garlic press, dishwashing rack, and measuring cup!

  6. LogicalOne says:

    Oh no!! Now where will Alton Brown go to buy those kitchen gizmos he uses on his show? Will “W” lose her job?

  7. beavis512 says:

    What about rebates that are currently processing?

  8. WraithSama says:

    @Altdotweb:
    Exactly what I was about to say.l

  9. mariospants says:

    Ironically, sales may go up and inventory may go down as people use up their gift cards today, but income will be unaffected, which means that the creditors will have even less to draw upon. Use up those gift cards, folks!

  10. ChuckECheese says:

    I RTFA, which I rarely do. This smells a lot like K-Mart’s original fail. They filed BK, thinking they could restructure. Instead, all their suppliers and banks cut them off, and KM went into a tailspin. KM managed to survive in some regions of the country, but not without becoming the mess that it is today. In other news, it appears that KM’s food/grocery supplier has stopped deliveries to KM for nonpayment. [www.news-star.com]

  11. catnapped says:

    @ChuckECheese:

    Um, that article is several years old (2002 or 2003, I think). Neither Adamson nor Conaway are still with the company.

  12. ThirstyEar2 says:

    Dude! I used to visit that mall almost every day during high school! :) The Bronx FTW.

    Also, I’m not surprised.

  13. evan says:

    Today I learned that Linens ‘n Things is not the same as Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Wow!

  14. huadpe says:

    @hypochondriac: US bankruptcy law as interpreted/enforced by a judge determines the order of payouts. The reason gift cards are lower on the list has very little to do with gift cards, and very much to do with the other debts owed by a company. Most times, when a company takes on debt, it has to put up collateral (like you do when you get a mortgage). The collateralized loans get paid with that collateral, leaving fewer assets for the rest of the creditors.

    You didn’t get collateral when you lent them $25 for your gift certificate, so you’re in line after the people who do have collateral.

    Don’t feel too bad though, you’re only in the middle of the line. Shareholders are at the end.

  15. rlee says:

    Nicely done! Good thing I was between sips of coffee.

  16. nardo218 says:

    Does this affect Bed Bath and Beyond? If they’re not the same entity, why do they accept each others’ coupons? Just a price matching thing?

  17. Islandkiwi says:

    @nardo218:

    It’s a price matching thing.

  18. rlee says:

    @rlee: Bother. That remark was supposed to be a reply to GC‘s excellent first post.

  19. MARTHA__JONES says:

    @LogicalOne: That would be sad. It might be hard for someone with such a sour disposition to find a new job!

  20. ChuckECheese says:

    @catnapped: Well, when I read it, I thought that was the case too–I was going to cite the article only as an example of what I was writing about, but there was a current headline on the page. I just checked it again, and it is dated today. What’s the deal? Where’s the original date, if that’s the wrong one? Silly Shawnee. I knew somebody who was an atty for Fleming back in the day. Well, my original point about Linens ‘N Thingses shame-spiral is still true.

  21. CPC24 says:

    @GC: There’s a rent-to-own furniture chain in the TN/KY area called Sticks N’ Stuff.

  22. Imaginary_Friend says:

    That’s sad news. I’ve always had top-notch customer service at Linen’s and Things, even though I don’t shop there more than a few times per year. I guess with the collapse of the housing market and fierce competition from Bed Bath & Beyond, and Target this was bound to happen. Those Yuppie home equity dollars are drying up fast. BB&B will probably be next. Both stores are too limited in what they sell.

  23. Snorbert says:

    This is just another victim of the awesome internet. Bye Buy brick and mortar.

  24. ooolam says:

    It means no more coupons from BBB anymore!

  25. bdgbill says:

    Whats one of the easiest things not to spend money on when you are reading about a looming recession every day? Linens N Things!

    It’s probably also a bad time to be a Jet Ski salesman, an RV dealer or a craptastic gadget seller like “The Sharper Image”.

    Here are a few more to add to the deadpool:

    Brookstone

    Bed Bath and Beyond

    Pottery Barn

    Williams-Sonoma

    Sephora

    And other such stores that were really just places to burn off extra cash you didn’t know what to do with.

    Soon everyone will know what to do with their cash…buy food and shelter.

  26. ChuckECheese says:

    @bdgbill: Don’t forget about Barbecues Galore!

  27. bdgbill says:

    @ChuckECheese:

    Right! And Swarvoski! Anyone ever seen a customer in one of their stores? I have not.

  28. humphrmi says:

    @bdgbill: Those Swarvoski stores are about 1/3 of their income. The rest comes from sales of glass related products – they make cutting materials for the auto industry and also gun scopes and binoculars. Their US unit just purchased a lighting company. They may be impacted by the economy, but it’s unlikely that store traffic will be the problem.

  29. wring says:

    @bdgbill: i despise williams-sonoma and pottery barn with a passion.

  30. bmwloco says:

    Just so happened my wife handed me the card last night and said “you should use this before it runs out”

    I was out to replace our ‘hood “tupperware”, old Chinese Food soup containers for something a bit, well, safer. Cheap plastics and all.

    I found a really nice Made in New Zealand set of vacuum locking food storage things.

    Maybe I can get a deal on more soon ;)

  31. trinidon2k says:

    Used my $100 gift card today…thanks for the heads up

  32. theblackdog says:

    Damn, I liked those stores too.

  33. Scuba Steve says:

    Dang. There’s a Linens ‘N Things a block from my house, next to a Target and a CompUSA.

    Why can’t Target be the one?

  34. SisterHavana says:

    That’s too bad. I’ve gotten some really good deals on sheets etc. there.

  35. TheRealAbsurdist says:

    @Islandkiwi:

    garlic press, dishwashing rack, and measuring cup?!?!?! for $50?!?!

    And anyone here wonders WHY they’re going bankrupt?

  36. GearheadGeek says:

    @MARTHA__JONES: As a chiropractor, perhaps W can adjust her own attitude.

  37. Buran says:

    @humphrmi: And birding/spotting scopes. I don’t think they make larger telescopes than that, though.

  38. thrlsekr says:

    Saw a great deal on some glasses on one of the deal sites I monitor and purchased them through the Linen n Things website with in store pickup in Davie, FL. The store management seemed completely unorganized to complete the sale. Just to pick the item up took 40 minutes with no one in the store!

    While waiting I thought to myself why not see about picking up a few other things while I was there and looked for them. When I found them, none of them were priced and I would of had to find someone to tell me the prices which I found unacceptable. To say the least I walked out of there with the great deal on the glasses (actually priced at $39.99 and the deal price of $13.99 with tax!)

    I was so mad by the time I left for waiting what I considered a long time and not being able to pickup the other items without taking more time I got on their site and sent in a email letting them know about my experience. They politely responded with a offer of a $20.00 gift card for my time and I responded that it would not be worth my time to go back to their store. I just wanted to let them know how incompetent their store management was.

    This was just two weeks ago and I guess it was not just this store but the whole chain! Glad I didn’t take them up on their offer!

  39. ThunderRoad says:

    gah! They are such a close relative to Bed Bath and Beyond. We just registered at BB&B. Hope this doesn’t make that a mistake a couple months from now.

  40. jchabotte says:

    @LogicalOne:

    Probably Target, since that’s where his line of kitchen gadgets is sold.

  41. GothGirl says:

    Now I will have no where to buy a pillow shaped like a giant Twix bar….

  42. drawp says:

    Is that picture in the Bronx? Near Co-op city? I haven’t been back in NY in some time!

    Thank you for the mini-trip w/ this picture… even if it’s not where i think it is.

  43. austinchu says:

    I agree with altdotweb. I spend my Linen’s-N-Things gift card yesterday in a deep panic in fear of gift card bankruptcy. However, bankruptcy does not necessarily make the gift cards void (savvywallet.com). So I guess this scared me into spending my credit there.