What’s next for Bed Bath & Beyond after defaulting on its loans?

Troubled home-goods retailer Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. disclosed in a filing Thursday that it was in default on loans that have been called in, sending its stock plunging.

The filing comes just three weeks after Bed Bath & Beyond
said it may need to declare bankruptcy. The struggling company, which was recently threatened with having its stock delisted for being late with its Form 10-Q quarterly report, finally filed its quarterly report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.

The filing also contained information that Bed Bath & Beyond had defaulted on loans earlier this month. Executives were informed Wednesday by banker JPMorgan Chase & Co. 
that the debt was due immediately.

See also: Bed Bath & Beyond stock plunges more than 20% after filing shows default on loans

Howard Ehrenberg, a bankruptcy and reorganization practice partner at the law firm Greenspoon Marder, thinks that Bed Bath & Beyond’s bankruptcy filing could be imminent. “My best assumption is that BBB will file before the bank takes action to seize the assets,” he told MarketWatch via email Thursday. “The loan documents most assuredly give the bank the right to take control of the company and the inventory.”

“If there really was an equity-for-debt deal, it would have been announced to blunt the impact of the default notice,” he added.

The lawyer, who is not involved in Bed Bath & Beyond’s efforts to resolve its financial woes, recently told MarketWatch that the retailer is likely running out of cash.

Related: As specter of bankruptcy looms over Bed Bath & Beyond, what’s next for the troubled retailer?

Bed Bath & Beyond’s stock plunged 22.2% on Thursday. The stock has fallen 81.8% in the last 12 months, outpacing the S&P 500 Index’s
decline of 6.2%.

“As we consider all paths and strategic alternatives, we continue to work with our advisers and implement actions to manage our business as efficiently as possible,” a Bed Bath & Beyond spokesperson said in an email Thursday. “As is our practice, we do not comment on speculation. We will update all stakeholders on our plans as they develop and finalize.”

On Jan. 10, Bed Bath & Beyond announced the closure of almost 130 stores, just days after saying it may need to declare bankruptcy. The announcement that the sometime meme-stock darling may need to declare bankruptcy sent Bed Bath & Beyond’s stock sinking toward a 30-year low and followed a turbulent few years marked by strategic missteps, cash burn, challenging underlying business trends and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional reporting by Jeremy Owens.

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