One upside to this disastrous meltdown: If you have a few bucks lying around, you can snap up some formerly well-respected brand names.
A venture called Hilco-Gordon Brothers has been doing just that. It recently bought the rights to the Bombay Co. furniture name and the Sharper Image moniker. And it just added the Linens 'n Things name to its portfolio with a $1 million bid at a bankruptcy auction.
That's a pretty good price. As The Wall Street Journal points out, private-equity investors bought Linens 'N Things for $1.3 billion (with a b) in 2006. Yes, much of that value has evaporated. But surely the name—which can live, and even thrive, going forward—is worth more than 1/1,300th of the sale price of just three years ago.
Bradley Snyder of Gordon Brothers tells the Journal: "This is a unique time and we intend in six months to a year to have a number of brand names. We see it as a completely opportunistic time. If not now, then when? We have virtually unlimited capital for this project."
At least someone's doing well.
—Posted by Tim Nudd