When I first heard that Bed Bath & Beyond was shuttering, I shuddered to think about finding a new go-to place to buy Mahogany Teakwood candles. A moment later I realized that I was confusing the home goods store with Bath & Body Works. It wasn’t the first time I had confused the two alliteratively-named retailers, but – with the news – I thought it could be my last.
That is, until recently when Overstock.com bought Bed Bath & Beyond’s intellectual property assets out of bankruptcy for $21.5 million. More like Bed Bath & (Saved from the Great) Beyond.
After the acquisition, the CEO of Overstock said, “We’ve long looked for ways to rebrand but wanted to do so in a way that wouldn’t take years or cost hundreds of millions of dollars.” He further expressed that there was a $1 billion dollar upside to the deal. A contributor for Forbes framed the price Overstock paid for the IP assets as “cheap” and noted that Wall Street seemed to like Overstock’s decision with its stock price going up since the acquisition was announced.
Looking at Overstock’s decision, there are at least two notable takeaways for brand owners.
1. Trademark Registrations have Value. A floundering company’s IP assets were purchased for $21.5 million, and it was considered cheap. Protect your IP assets.
2. Rebrands can be Time-Consuming and Expensive. One large brand bought a failing brand’s IP out of bankruptcy to avoid the expense of a rebrand. If your company needs to rebrand, consider whether it is better to rebrand or purchase pre-existing IP assets from another company.
Overstock’s CEO also gave this quote following the deal, which we may have to put on a Trust Tree t-shirt, “Mismanagement can kill companies, but it doesn’t kill brands.” Only time will tell whether Overstock can leverage the Bed Bath & Beyond brand enough to justify the $21.5 million price tag.