Another Section 363 purchase-turned-Chapter 22: Fortunoff, the upscale jewelery store, has filed for bankruptcy just 10 months after NRDC Equity Partners purchased it out of bankruptcy. (A few weeks ago the same thing happened to Versa Capital, with portfolio company American Restaurant Group.)
Can’t say we didn’t expect it, though. The buyout strategy always seemed like a stretch: NRDC stated it would not close a single Fortunoff store. It also purchased the company for more than $80 million and only put down $10 million in equity. How could that possibly save a retailer that had simply stopped paying its bills and had already exhausted more than one sale-leaseback?
Upon closer examination, you have to wonder if it’s a sign of things to come for NRDC’s portfolio. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal ran a perplexing story about Richard Baker, the head of NRDC and son of successful real estate investor Robert Baker. The article describes Baker as